Daily Telegraph: Reserves whistleblower quits Shell: “The Shell executive who wrote a hard-hitting internal report that exposed the practice of inflating the oil giant's "proven" reserves has quit.”: “Walter van der Vijver, the then head of exploration and production, replied to Mr Coopman in a now infamous e-mail: "This is absolute dynamite, not at all what I expected and needs to be destroyed." (ShellNews.net)
By Christopher Hope (Filed: 13/10/2004)
The Shell executive who wrote a hard-hitting internal report that exposed the practice of inflating the oil giant's "proven" reserves has quit.
Shell yesterday confirmed that Frank Coopman, chief financial officer of exploration and production, left at the beginning of September.
Mr Coopman had been considering other offers within Shell since he stepped aside in April. A spokesman said: "He was offered a key alternative position but he chose not to accept. He has now left by mutual agreement."
Mr Coopman, 58, who had been at the company for 33 years, received a pay-off which, according to Shell, "reflected last year's salary, his years of service and the fact that he was one and a half years away from retiring".
A Shell spokesman declined to comment. However a company source said that, in an internal statement, Shell had "thanked Frank for his sustained commitment and significant contribution made over a long career".
Mr Coopman rose to prominence when he compiled an internal status report that revealed the group had exaggerated its commercially exploitable oil and gas reserves by 2.3billion barrels (later increased to 4.47billion barrels).
He recommended in his review, carried out last autumn, that Shell was "under a legal obligation" to correct immediately the overstatement of the reserve. However Walter van der Vijver, the then head of exploration and production, replied to Mr Coopman in a now infamous e-mail: "This is absolute dynamite, not at all what I expected and needs to be destroyed."
When the overstatement became public, both Mr Van der Vijver and Sir Philip Watts, chairman of the committee of managing directors at Shell, lost their jobs over the affair.
Both received pay-offs running into millions of pounds.
Daily Telegraph: Top finance man axed in Shell shake-up
By Christopher Hope, Business Correspondent (Filed: 09/04/2004)
Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas giant, has replaced the top financial executive in its "upstream" business with the company's group head of investor relations.
The move leaves Shell without heads of investor and press relations at a time when its communications with the outside world have been widely criticised.
Shell is in crisis after admitting that it had overstated its "proven", or commercially exploitable, oil and gas reserves by 21pc, or 4.15billion barrels. The company is now checking its proven reserves for a second time.
Yesterday Shell said that Frank Coopman, chief financial officer of Shell's exploration and production business since 2002, had been removed from his post. The company declined to say why he had been moved.
A spokesman said Mr Coopman, 57, had turned down an alternative job offered by Shell, although he remains an employee of Shell.
He said: "He has been offered a key alternative position in Shell which he has chosen not to accept. We will continue to work towards a mutually acceptable alternative."
He is replaced by Simon Henry, 42, head of group investor relations, who joined Shell as an engineer in 1982. He subsequently worked mainly in financial positions in Egypt and South East Asia. He took over as head of investor relations in 2001.
The spokesman said: "We consider our relationships to be of critical importance and will be filling that post as soon as possible."
Shell confirmed that it has not had a head of media relations for more than three months, since James Herbert left in December.
The spokesman said Mr Herbert's duties had been filled by Mary Jo Jacobi, the group vice-president of external affairs. A new head of media relations would be announced in the next few weeks, he added. Shell has increased its corporate press office from three to five staff in the past few months.
Shell has been heavily criticised for poor communications with investors and the media since January 9 when Sir Philip Watts, the then-chairman, failed to speak to investors about Shell's overstatement of reserves.
Sir Philip later apologised for not explaining the reasons behind the overstatement until February 5 when Shell announced its full-year results.
• A report in the New York Times yesterday claimed that Shell raised its proven oil reserves in 2000, resulting in a 40pc overstatement by mistake. Shell said yesterday that it had been "open about the production shortfall in Oman, most recently in the presentation to analysts on February 5.
"The reservoir structures in Oman are among the world's most geologically complex, encompassing the full range of reservoir and oil types."