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Posts on ‘December 20th, 2010’

More on Graft and Corruption at Shell Oil USA

Shell Oil Manager on gifts (bribes) given to Shell employees by vendors:

“And yes John, there are acceptable levels of gifts, and if you do not think there are then you are living in la la land.”


When I was at Shell Research many years ago I was in a position of evaluating vendor services and making recommendations about those services to the rest of the company.

The two biggest companies I dealt with were, of course, Schlumberger and Halliburton. My work required access to proprietary material from both companies so it was absolutely imperative that the relationships were kept completely professional.

As such, I would not allow these guys to buy me so much as a bottle of Coke. Nor would I buy their people so much as a Coke. When you are in such a position you can not play favorites and you cannot get ‘cozy’ with any particular vendor or with any of their people. It is inevitable that you do develop ‘professional’ relationships with your contacts in these companies, but they must be kept ‘professional’. I essentially followed the ethical standards of conduct of the US Navy’s Naval Reactor Program Office in my dealings with the vendors, which I was familiar with. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Mixed up and agitated about Shell, Hitler and dodgy diesel

Although we try to make it plain that this is not the official Royal Dutch Shell Plc website, it is evident from this email, received earlier today, that we need to try harder.

To spare any embarrassment, the senders name and email address have been removed.

Firstly; what the hell is going on with the swashtica ( spelt wrong I know) on your home page and then contact us page shows hitler- whats that all about ?

My main reason for contacting shell is this- I have been travelling and mainly living in Eastern Europe for past 2 years and used my car for most trips all over Europe and back to the UK. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

The rise in the price of heating oil – an insider’s view

You know that slightly vulgar Q&A ?

Question: “Why do dogs lick their balls?”

Answer: “Because they can”.

Its pretty much a metaphor for the corporate world for much of the  time:

Q:  “Why do bankers pay themselves large bonuses?”

A: “Because they can.”

– and so on.

It is the “Because they can” imperative which helps us understand why heating oil costs have gone up by 50%  or more in recent times (see graph):

oil costs


Oil is often the only choice for many in rural areas without connections to the Natural Gas grid. It is usually Kerosene and sometimes Gas Oil – both middle distillates from the refining process. Because the rates of duty applicable to heating oil (as compared to road fuel) are minor there should usually be a close correlation between the ex-refinery cost of the oil and the crude oil price. In August (the low point on the graph) heating oil cost  domestic customers 40p a litre. Today it is as much as 70p a litre – a rise of up to 75% . Over that same period the price of crude oil  has gone from $76 a barrel to $86 a barrel – a rise of only 13%. British consumers pay for their heating oil in Sterling so we have to allow for the change in the £/$ exchange rate when making comparisons. In Sterling terms the price of crude oil per barrel has gone from £48.5 to £54.8 – still only a rise of 13%. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.
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