FROM BILL CAMPBELL, FORMER GROUP AUDITOR OF SHELL INTERNATIONAL TO EVERY UK MP AND MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS: SENT FROM 24 JULY 2007
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.
Link to view evidence: www.shellnews.net