Skip to main content

Shell insider blows whistle on Shell senior management policy of profits before safety
Posted by Royal Dutch Shell at July 27th, 2007

Oil Profits Before Safety
By John Donovan
Bill Campbell, a much respected former Group Auditor of the oil giant, Shell International, this week took the exceptional step of writing to all members of the UK Houses of Parliament – every MP and every member of the House of Lords - to bring to their attention a “Touch F*** All” safety culture at Shell.
He explained in his letter (reprinted below with his kind permission) how the lives of Shell employees working on an oil platform in the North Sea were lost after Shell senior management put profits before safely instead of taking appropriate action after a safety audit led by Campbell discovered a corrupted safety regime.
Senior officials at Royal Dutch Shell Plc including Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer had sight of Campbell’s alarm bell warning to British legislators before it was sent.

Subject: This could be the most important whistleblower email you have ever received.
Some unfortunate Royal Dutch Shell workers have already lost their lives. More lives are at stake.
My name is Bill Campbell. I am a former Group Auditor of Shell International. I am writing to you on a matter of conscience in an effort to avert the inevitability of another major accident in the North Sea. The consequences could potentially impact on families in many constituencies, including your own.
As Royal Dutch Shell and the Health & Safety Executive would acknowledge, I am an expert on safety matters relating to offshore oil and gas platforms. In 1999, I was appointed by Shell to lead a safety audit on the Brent Bravo platform. The audit revealed a platform management culture that basically gave a higher priority to production than the safety of Shell employees. To our astonishment we discovered that a “Touch F*** All” policy was in place. Worse still, safety records were routinely falsified and repairs bodged.
I personally brought the shocking situation to the attention of senior management including Malcolm Brinded, the then Managing Director of Shell Exploration & Production. I revealed that ESDV leak-off tests were purposely falsified, not once but many times and that Brent Bravo platform management had admitted responsibility for the dangerous practices being followed. In response to my team ringing alarm bells, management pledged to rectify the serious problems which had been uncovered.
When I later complained that the pledges were not being kept, I was removed from my oversight function.
Four years later, a massive gas leak occurred on the platform. Two workers lost their lives. I have no doubt at all that the inaction of the relevant Asset Manager, the General Manager, the Oil Director and Malcolm Brinded, contributed in some part to the unlawful killing of two persons on Brent Bravo in September 2003.
Shell subsequently pleaded guilty to breaches of the HSE regulations and a record-breaking £900,000 fine was imposed. I thought this would bring about a real change in policy to put the emphasis on safety.
Unfortunately I was wrong. Although I supplied the evidence related to 1999, and the fact that there had been a collapse in controls of integrity from 1999 to 2003 on all 16 of Shell’s North Sea offshore installations covered in a post fatality integrity review to the HSE for review by the Procurator Fiscal, none of this evidence was presented before the Sheriff at the subsequent Inquiry. The situation is explained in a letter to the Procurator Fiscal and the Sheriff (on 24th February 2007).
Shell management has engaged in spin to try to pretend that it is getting to grips with its safety problem. However, its atrocious safety record – the worst in the North Sea in terms of accidental deaths and absolute number of enforcement actions - tells a different story. This fact has resulted in a number of newspaper articles.
I have had meetings with senior Shell people including its CEO Mr. Jeroen van der Veer. I regret to say that I have found him to be economical with the truth. He prefers to support cover-up and deceit rather than confronting the underlying problems. Brinded is now Executive Director of Shell Exploration & Production. He believes in burying evidence.
My family and friends would probably prefer me to give up on this matter and enjoy my retirement after so many years working for Shell.
However, by writing to every MP in the UK, no one can ever say that I did not do my best to avert an inevitable further major accident event in the North Sea. When it happens (I pray that I am wrong) I will make this warning communication available to the media together with the vast amount of evidence in my possession.
At least my conscience is clear. I have done everything possible to ring the alarm bells about Shell management and its unscrupulous attitude to the safety of its employees.
Yours sincerelyBill Campbell
Link to view evidence and related news articles:
If anyone wishes to send an email to Bill Campbell, address it to and I will forward it on to him

Previous articles on
Blogger News Network: Is Shell skulduggery in Nigeria pumping up global oil prices?

Posted by Royal Dutch Shell at July 19th, 2007
This post was written by johnadonovan on 18 July, 2007 (16:45) | All News, Business News, Company News, Blogosphere News, Automotive News
By John Donovan
When the news media reports on rising high oil prices, militant attacks in Nigeria are inevitably cited as a factor e.g. the following extract is from a report in The Scotsman, Friday 13 July 2007: “The attacks have contributed to a drop in production of about 25 per cent, driving up oil prices worldwide with no end to the kidnappings in sight”.
Shell is the leading oil producer in Nigeria. To the outside world it appears to be an unfortunate victim of regular attacks by militants on its employees, pipelines and installations which drive up the price of oil. As readers will see, the truth is more sinister and bizarre.
As the operators of what has been described by the Financial Times as “an anti-Shell website”, we were contacted by a conscience driven high level Shell insider who gave us clues about Shell’s actions in Nigeria. They made it clear their life would be at risk in going too far in revealing the truth about issues relating to Shell, including Nigerian politics, bunkering, pollution, kidnapping, MOSOP (Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People) and the militant activist organisation MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Nigerian Delta). We put questions to the whistleblower and subsequently spoke directly to them. In the process, we established that the source is authentic.
The following articles by The Financial Times found during our research into the charges against Shell confirm, to a large degree, what had appeared initially to be incredible and outlandish allegations.
Our investigations included contact with other Shell insiders with knowledge of Shell activities in Nigeria.
Based on the FT articles and information from our sources, we are able to state as a matter of fact, that Shell executives in Nigeria (where corruption is endemic) have been up to their necks in a sinister relationship with militant leaders. Valuable contracts have been awarded by Shell to militants. Shell executives, Nigerian authorities and militant leaders have been locked in a conspiratorial embrace.
Shell would presumably say that their descent into an immoral commercial relationship with militants attacking oil company property and kidnapping oil company employees, has had the positive objective of keeping the oil flowing. In our view such unscrupulous dealings are reprehensible and probably hide an even darker secret.
The plain fact is that there is much more money to be made by stemming oil flow from Nigeria than keeping it flowing. Production cuts have been consistently happening. This has been most fortunate for Shell, which has benefitted from billions in windfall profits that have masked the huge losses arising from Shell management incompetence in mega projects such as Sakhalin-2 in Russia. We cannot categorically say that this has been Shell’s real objective: instead it comes under the heading of informed speculation.
In 2004, the world was astonished to discover that Shell had artificially inflated its hydrocarbon reserves in a huge securities fraud. Some of the same directors who signed Form F20 returns containing false information filed with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission remain at the helm of Shell. The question now is whether Shell has also been inflating profits by manipulating oil production in Nigeria in cahoots with murderous militant partners and perhaps as an unwanted by-product, has also created massive windfall profits for its competitors. I stress again that it only takes a small crimp in the oil pipeline applied on a regular basis to drive up the global oil price and keep it at a high level, thereby generating billions of extra dollars in annual profits: in the case of Shell alone, $25.4 billion.
By way of background information I co-own with my father, Alfred Donovan, the world’s leading online source of information about Royal Dutch Shell. We have a library of over 15,000 articles relating to Shell. Our website has a track record of exposing misdeeds by Shell management as a result of insiders leaking information to us. The Russian government has confirmed that I supplied the evidence for a threatened $30 billion lawsuit against Shell relating to environmental violations on the Sakhalin Energy project in Siberia. In December last year Shell surrendered its majority stake in the venture to bring the episode to an end.
A few weeks ago, David Greer, a Shell Managing Director seconded to the Sakhalin-2 project, resigned as Deputy Chief Executive of Sakhalin Energy following our exposure in conjunction with the Financial Times, of a scandal which emerged from insider information leaked to me.
Many news organisations such as Dow Jones and Reuters have used information leaked to us by our Shell insider sources. Eminent energy journalists such as Ed Crooks of the Financial Times and Max Delany of The Moscow Times have written front page stories based on information and leaked documents supplied to us from Shell insiders. For this reason the credibility of our Shell insider sources is extremely high.
Moscow Times articles…
Further information about us and our website can be found on the Wikipedia article:
The Wikipedia article “Controversies surrounding Royal Dutch Shell” conclusively answers the question of whether Shell management is capable of ruthless unscrupulous conduct. The article details Shell’s fines for fictitious trading, its leadership role in illegal cartels, involvement in espionage activities in Nigeria and covers many other subjects.
Senior executives of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, including Shell Oil Company President John Hofmeister and the Chairman of Shell in Nigeria have had advance sight of this article.

Posted Date: 
2 August 2007 - 2:29pm