By John Donovan of royaldutchshellplc.com
A former Shell International Group Auditor of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, Mr Bill Campbell, has issued a Public Statement making serious allegations against executive directors of the oil giant. The allegations relate to a deeply flawed “Touch Fuck All” safety culture on Shell North Sea Oil Platforms which led to the deaths of Shell offshore employees working on the Brent Bravo Platform. Basically production and profits were given a higher priority than the lives of Shell offshore workers.
Before publishing the Public Statement I corresponded with senior lawyers at Shell and with the UK regulator of such matters, the Health & Safety Executive. I have published the entire correspondence below which concluded this morning. It is followed by the Public Statement of Mr Campbell containing a devastating indictment of Shell senior management.
EMAIL FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO MICHIEL BRANDJES, COMPANY SECRETARY AND GENERAL COUNSEL CORPORATE, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC: 28 JULY 2008
From: John Donovan [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: maandag 28 juli 2008 16:16
To: Brandjes, Michiel CM SI-LC; Brinded, Malcolm A RDS-ECMB; firstname.lastname@example.org; Botts, Tom M SEPI-EPE
Cc: Cambell1944@aol.com; van der Veer, Jeroen J RDS-CEJV
Subject: Brent Bravo deaths return to haunt Shell EP Exec Malcolm Brinded
Dear Mr Brandjes
I have printed below a â€œPublic Statementâ€ sent to me on 25 July 2008 by Mr Bill Campbell, the former Shell International HSE Group Auditor. His latest statement goes beyond anything I have seen before in its indictment of Shell safety culture as typified by the notorious â€œTouch Fuck Allâ€ approach to maintenance of safety critical equipment on Shell North Sea Production Platforms. I have highlighted in red the text which caught by eye.
The devastating comments coming from such an eminently qualified expert appear to deliver a hammer blow to Mr Brindedâ€™s ambitions of succeeding Jeroen van der Veer as CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
At the end of the Public Statement is a copy of a self-explanatory letter Mr Campbell has received from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
Please feel free to point out any statements which are factually inaccurate and we will take appropriate steps. If Shell does not take issue with the statements of fact by Mr Campbell, or with his expert opinions as expressed in his statement, we will take take it that Shell accepts that what he says in the statement is correct. You are invited to supply for unedited publication any comment or statement Shell may wish to provide for publication with the Public Statement and associated correspondence.
Could you kindly provide a response by close of business on Wednesday. If you need more time to consider a response you only have to ask, as we are more interested in fairness and accuracy than in hasty publication.
Subject to any response received, we are determined to publish the Public Statement as the lives of Shell offshore employees remain at risk of a Shell management which gives a higher priority to production and profit than safety. This unpalatable fact was demonstrated by the aforementioned astonishing TFA policy, explicitly or tacitly endorsed by managers driven by ambition, greed and ego.
In view of comments made by Mr Campbell in relation to the HSE, we will be writing to the HSE separately with a similar offer.
REPLY FROM MR BRANDJES 29 JULY 2008
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2008 09:14:33 +0200
Subject: RE: Brent Bravo deaths return to haunt Shell EP Exec Malcolm Brinded
Dear Mr Donovan,
I confirm receipt of this and a related subsequent email. The relevant department or officers of Shell will consider whether and if so how to respond thereto.
Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate
Royal Dutch Shell plc
Registered office: Shell Centre London SE1 7NA UK
Place of registration and number: England 4366849
Correspondence address: PO Box 162, 2501 AN The Hague,
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2008 16:37:15 +0200
Subject: Your Email of 28th July to Mr Michiel Brandjes
Dear Mr Donovan
Thank you for your email of 28th July addressed to Mr Brandjes. Given the length and very detailed nature of the Statement from Mr Campbell which you attached to your email we would like to review it in detail before responding to you. We nonetheless anticipate being able to respond to you before the weekend.
General Counsel Exploration and Production
Shell International B.V.
The Hague, The Netherlands – Trade Register no. 27155369
Address: c/o Kessler Park 1, 2288 GS Rijswijk, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 70 447 4323 Fax: 4380 Email: Keith.Ruddock@shell.com
Internet: http://www.shell.com <http://www.shell.com/>
EMAIL FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO MR GEOFFREY PODGER, CEO, HEALTH & SAFETY EXECUTIVE: 28 JULY 2008
From: John Donovan [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: maandag 28 juli 2008 17:38
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; Cambell1944@aol.com; John Donovan
Cc: Brandjes, Michiel CM SI-LC
Subject: FOR THE URGENT ATTENTION OF MR GEOFFREY PODGER, CEO, HSE.
Dear Mr Podger
RE: SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS OF FORMER SHELL INTERNATIONAL HSE GROUP AUDITOR, MR BILL CAMPBELL
Printed below is a self-explanatory email sent today to Mr Michiel Brandjes, Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
Your name is mentioned in the Public Statement by former Shell International HSE Group Auditor Mr Bill Campbell (included in the email) which we intend to publish on our website royaldutchshellplc.com. For your information, this is what the news media says about our website which last month received over 5 million hits and over 3 million page views…
In view of the content of the Bill Campbell Public Statement, particularly as it relates to the HSE and your Offshore Safety Division, we are giving the HSE the opportunity to take issue with or comment on the statements of fact set out by Mr Campbell. If there is no response, then we will take it that the record set out by Mr Campbell in this regard is accurate and unchallenged by the HSE. You may also wish to address the serious allegations relating to the HSE/OSD. We will publish unedited any comments or rebuttal you supply.
Please reply by close of business Wednesday. If the HSE requires more time kindly let me know when you will be providing a substantive response. If there is no response at all by Wednesday evening, we will assume, as indicated, that the HSE does not take issue with the facts and expert comments as stated by Mr Campbell and is content for his Public Statement to be put into the public domain without amendment.
EMAIL RECEIVED FROM IAN WHEWELL, HSE OFFSHORE DIVISION: 30 JULY 2008
On 30/07/2008 17:51, “Ian.Whewell@hse.gsi.gov.uk” <Ian.Whewell@hse.gsi.gov.uk> wrote:
Please note that this e-mail being not correctly addressed to the CEO has only just come to HSE’s attention. You should not take our failure to respond by close today as an indication the statements made are accurate or unchallenged. Please expect HSE’s response once the contents have been reviewed by HSE officials.
Tel: +441224 252502
EMAIL REPLY FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO IAN WHEWELL, HSE OFFSHORE DIVISION: 30 JULY 2008
From: John Donovan <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 18:05:38 +0100
Conversation: Legally Privileged and Confidential – North Sea Safety Allegations
Subject: Re: Legally Privileged and Confidential – North Sea Safety Allegations
Dear Mr Whewell
Thank you for your email, the content of which is noted.
For your information we did receive a response initially from Mr Brandjes and subsequently from Mr Keith Ruddock, General Counsel of Shell Exploration and Production. The following is a self-explanatory extract from the email received from Mr Ruddock. I am sure he would not object to you having sight of it.
Given the length and very detailed nature of the Statement from Mr Campbell which you attached to your email we would like to review it in detail before responding to you. We nonetheless anticipate being able to respond to you before the weekend.
We have agreed to await Shellâ€™s response and hope you will also be able to reply by the weekend. However if you need more time, please kindly indicate when we can expect a response.
EMAIL RECEIVED FROM MR WARWICK ENGLISH, ASSOCIATE COUNSEL, SHELL EP NEW BUSINESS, SHELL INTERNATIONAL B.V. : 1 AUGUST 2008
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2008 17:26:51 +0200
Subject: Your Email of 28th July to Mr Michiel Brandjes
Dear Mr Donovan,
I refer to Keith Ruddock’s email to you of 29th July. In his absence, he has asked me to reply to your email of 28 July.
We have reviewed the Statement that has been prepared by Mr Campbell which you forwarded to us. We do not agree with or accept Mr Campbell’s narrative nor his interpretation of events and conclusions. We have previously put our position on this on record but we also wish to state that we categorically deny that there was ever any collusion between Shell and the HSE or the Crown Office or the Government. In addition, we find unacceptable the entirely unfounded comments about the actions of named Shell employees.
Further, as you are aware, Shell is investing substantially in safety and asset integrity in the North Sea which clearly demonstrates our commitment to safety as our first priority.
Associate Counsel – EP New Business
Shell International B.V.
The Hague, The Netherlands – Trade Register no. 27155369
Address: c/o Kessler Park 1, 2288 GS, Rijswijk, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)70 447 4654
Mobile: +31 (0)655 124116
EMAIL FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO WARWICK ENGLISH 4 AUGUST 2008
From: John Donovan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 04 Aug 2008 10:00:08 +0100
Cc: “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Ian.Whewell@hse.gsi.gov.uk” <Ian.Whewell@hse.gsi.gov.uk>, <Kevin.Myers@hse.gsi.gov.uk>, <Geoffrey.Podger@hse.gsi.gov.uk>
Conversation: Your Email of 28th July to Mr Michiel Brandjes
Subject: Re: Your Email of 28th July to Mr Michiel Brandjes
Dear Mr English
Thank you for your reply. Since I have not corresponded with you previously I will provide more background information just in case you have not been fully briefed.
You say that Shell does not agree with or accept Mr Campbell’s narrative nor his interpretation of events and conclusions. Yet you provide not a single example of any instance where there is proof Mr Campbell is incorrect on any matter of fact. Your brief sweeping dismissal contrasts with Mr Campbellâ€™s meticulous current and past accounts of relevant events, entirely in keeping with what could be expected from a former HSE Group Auditor of Shell International of the highest competence, expertise and integrity.
Shell management for commercial reasons dismissed the findings of the Platform Management Safety Review conducted in 1999 (led by Campbell) and dismissed his deep misgivings about the failure to implement recommendations arising from the PMSR. Production and profit was given a higher priority than employee safety despite the exposure of the management approved TFA culture involving falsified records relating to safety critical equipment. This policy led directly to the avoidable accidental deaths of two innocent Shell employees on the Brent Bravo platform in 2003.
What it boils down to is that you have supplied a blanket denial except for the categorical denial that there has ever been any collusion between Shell and the HSE, Shell and the Crown Office or Shell and the Government.
You say Shell finds unacceptable the entirely unfounded comments about the actions of named Shell employees. This is obviously another important issue as it involves senior Shell executives including for example Mr Malcolm Brinded, Chief Executive of Shell Exploration and Production, an acknowledged candidate for the top job at Royal Dutch Shell Plc. With all due respect, the blanket denial is under the circumstances unacceptable.
If Shell identifies each such individual along with the associated allegation and is able to provide a categorical assurance, then unless we have evidence to the contrary, the allegation will not be published by us. In other words, if you deal with each and every allegation and categorically state they are all untrue, then the relevant allegations will not be published. However if Mr Campbell is subsequently able to supply us with evidence, for example in the form of recorded conversations with Shell or other parties, which prove an allegation is well founded, we would re-contact Shell.
I note your comments about Shellâ€™s commitment to â€œinvesting substantially in safety and asset integrity in the North Sea which clearly demonstrates our commitment to safety as our first priority.â€ This impressive claim would have more credibility if articles indicating otherwise were not still being published by the respected oil industry newspaper, Upstream.
Headline: Pressure rises on Shell
EXTRACT: â€œShell is under mounting pressure to explain its poor North Sea safety record after fresh revelations showed it has been by far the worst performer in the play, receiving six out of a total of 18 legal notices issued by the UKâ€™s Health&Safety Executive (HSE) over a two-and-a-half year period.
Headline: Lifeboats trouble at Brent field
EXTRACT: â€œIf they had loaded up this particular lifeboat, the chances are it could have been launched into the sea in an uncontrolled fashion which would have caused death or injury as it was held in place by corrosion and not by the designed system,â€ claimed Molloy. Problems have also been found with a second lifeboat on Bravo. Last year a lifeboat launched itself into the sea from Shellâ€™s Tern platform as the brakes and clutches were dysfunctional.
Incidentally, it has been confirmed to me in writing by Upstream that threats were made by Shell against the newspaper to blackmail it into ceasing publication of articles about Shell safety issues based on information sourced from Bill Campbell. The threats made a lasting and distasteful impression. Out of fear of the threatened reprisals, which related to Shell advertising, Upstream did back off for some time from using information from Mr Campbell. His campaign was curbed not by collusion but by outright commercial blackmail on the part of Shell applied against an influential third party.
We know from Shell internal correspondence released to us under the Data Protection Act that Shell wished to â€œkillâ€ a story by The Sunday Times relating to our website and its Â£11 billion impact on the Sakhalin-2 project. The story was duly killed just before publication. Consequently news of the reprehensible tactics used against Upstream came as no surprise. The Bill Campbell/Brent Bravo affair was discussed in detail with Steven Swinford, the Sunday Times journalist who authored the article. By coincidence or otherwise, a few weeks later, a major advertorial for the Shell Ferrari partnership was published exclusively in The Sunday Times.
The Shell internal correspondence released to us under the DPA SAR application included an email dated 9 March 2007 indicating that a team had been set up to combat our website. It appears from the first paragraph that the dramatic move was stimulated by our contact with Bill Campbell in relation to â€œN/Sea integrity etc.â€ The note contained some decidedly hostile intent of a macho nature.
The link below is to the Shell internal correspondence about the wish to â€œkillâ€ the Sunday Times article. The last page is the Shell email of 9 March 2007, the content of which would not look out of place in a fictional Spectre plot (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion).
We have other related Shell internal and external correspondence released to us under the SAR, for example a Shell lawyer (your colleague Mr Keith Ruddock, General Counsel of Shell EP) writing to Mr Campbellâ€™s solicitors desperately trying to separate him from us.
It seems reasonable to conclude that Shell is extremely concerned about these matters. If Shell had nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of, it would not have resorted to the extraordinary moves mentioned above, including blackmail and the instigation of a counter-measures team working in secret at an undisclosed location on undisclosed activities.
In this connection, we cornered our two website hosting companies in the USA and Canada into revealing in writing that their simultaneous threats to close down our website resulted from threats made against them by Shell. I have written confirmation of this from MyHosting, BlueHost,com and subsequently from Mr Keith Ruddock. As Shell is also aware (from my correspondence with RDS Plc Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate, Mr Michiel Brandjes) our website has been subjected to subsequent blocking attacks from an unknown party. By coincidence or otherwise, almost immediately after we made Shell senior management aware of the cyber warfare attacks, they ceased as if by magic.
The website is now out of operation frequently, sometimes several times per day, arising from a new technical problem of undetermined origin. Whether this is a result of exceptionally high traffic for a non-commercial website, or a new line of cyber attack by an unknown party with malicious intent, remains to be determined.
Shell has an admitted track record of undercover activities directed against us. Shell Legal Director and General Counsel Richard Wiseman admitted in writing the activities of â€œMr Christopher Phillipsâ€ after â€œPhillipsâ€ was caught red-handed using fake credentials and a fake company in an undercover visit to our offices. This happened at a time when we were besieged by investigators posing as journalists. Shell denied that it had any connection with illegal activities, including threats made against my family and our witnesses in a then pending High Court trial. The Police also investigated the series of burglaries carried out at my home, the home of a key witness and at my solicitors home, when documents relating to the litigation were tampered with and probably copied. Mr Colin Joseph, the senior partner of the solicitors acting for Shell (Kendall Freeman) also confirmed in writing the activities of â€œChristopher Phillipsâ€. In what can only be interpreted as a threat, he revealed in a reply letter that other â€œenquiryâ€ agents were working on our case, but refused to say what they were doing.
Mr Wiseman confirmed in writing that Shell had carried out its own internal investigation at Shell Mex House. He gave a written assurance of our personal safety. The fact that a Shell director deemed it necessary to put this unusual assurance in writing heightened our concern. The then Chairman of Shell Transport, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart was fully aware of these events. In a bizarre development, his wife, Lady Judy Moody-Stuart intervened in the litigation by sending a handwritten letter to my father, Alfred Donovan.
However, Shell did not inform the Police about its close association with a UK private intelligence firm Hakluyt & Company Ltd which engaged in exactly the type of dirty tricks operations used against us. We later discovered that titled Shell directors and shareholders, Sir Peter Holmes and Sir William Purves, close colleagues of Moody-Stuart, were at that time ALSO major shareholders and directors of Hakluyt. They were in fact the ultimate spymasters with Sir William being Chairman of the company and Sir Peter Holmes being President of the associated so called â€œoversightâ€ organisation, The Hakluyt Foundation. This is confirmed in Annual Accounts filed with Companies House for Shell Transport and Hakluyt.
The litany of dirty tricks carried out on behalf of Shell, included undercover infiltration, deception, subversion, etc carried out as part of spying operations against parties campaigning against Shell:
Although the heading of the above Wikipedia article was recently amended from â€œShell espionageâ€, to â€œAlleged Shell espionageâ€, in fact in each of the cited cases, Shell has admitted responsibility, so the charges are admitted fact, not unproven allegations. A former SHELL CEO who is a senior Wikipedia editor made the article title change. Last week, Shell admitted being behind surveillance operations currently being directly against adults and children living in the area of the Corrib pipeline landfall in Ireland.
I have been in correspondence with Mr Campbell over the weekend and he has asked me to pass on his regards. It is fair to say that he does not believe Shell executives are being truthful in the information given to you. He says: â€œlies have been piled upon liesâ€. Mr Campbell is on the brink of a major step involving other interested parties. His latest initiative could lead to the whole Brent Bravo scandal unravelling. The amount of audio evidence may surprise Shell.
I do not believe that it would be helpful to pass on extensive information from Mr Campbellâ€™s lengthy response to your email. He feels deeply about these matters, perhaps wrongly concerned that he did not do enough to force home to Shell executives his fears about the lack of an adequate response to the PMSR findings. I do not believe anyone could have done more. Driven by conviction he pressed so hard and so often that he was removed from his job. It is others who should have the subsequent avoidable accidental deaths on their consciences.
It may however be useful for you to be aware of a constructive suggestion from Mr Campbell. The following are extracts from the relevant paragraph:
â€œYou can tell Warwick that this could still be avoided if Shell were to issue a Press Release stating that their account of things published on 16th June 2006 and widely circulated in relation to the follow up from the 1999 Audit was false and misleading and in fact from 1999 till 2003 there had been a sustained decline in essential controls offshore as witnessed by the systemic failures presented by Greg Hill to the HSE in November 2003, and that this decline contributes at least indirectly to the fatal accident. And that Shell apologises for these false statements and will be dealing internally with the consequences of all this then so be it….. Such a statement would halt my interestâ€¦ and retire into quiet and peaceful seclusion.â€
This suggestion is not all that far removed from what has already been conceded by Shell. I draw your attention for example to the candid admissions about a flawed safety culture at Shell made in an article by a senior Shell official, Mr James Schofield and by â€œKieron McFadyen, recently appointed Vice President Health, Safety and Environment responsible for improving the safety performance across the group.â€ The article currently published on your own website, shell.com
concedes that Shellâ€™s safety record â€œdoesnâ€™t measure up to other major oil and gas companiesâ€:
RDS Plc Chief Executive Officer, Jeroen van der Veer, has also made a candid admission in relation to safety issues that â€œhe was determined to change the culture after problems in the pastâ€…
Shell may wish under the circumstances to contact Mr Campbell directly to see if a Public Statement by Shell can be agreed. If Mr Campbell were satisfied with any such compromise, which would be in the best interests of the safety of Shell North Sea employees, we would only publish the agreed Shell statement. The statement would end our joint campaign with Mr Campbell and hopefully put an end to the TFA era involving falsification of records relating to safety critical equipment, that resulted in many articles highly damaging to Shell, of which the following three are examples.
We are currently in correspondence with the HSE in relation to the Bill Campbell Public Statement, so you have time to let me know if you wish to take up either of the above constructive offers/suggestions i.e. detailed rebuttal or direct contact with Mr Campbell.
EMAIL RECEIVED FROM WARWICK ENGLISH 5 AUGUST 2008
On 05/08/2008 08:19, “Warwick.English@shell.com” <Warwick.English@shell.com> wrote:
Dear Mr Donovan,
Thank you for your reply; there is nothing further that we wish to add to the statement which I sent to you on 1st August.
Associate Counsel EP New Business
Shell International B.V.
The Hague, The Netherlands – Trade Register no. 27155369
Address: c/o Kessler Park 1, 2288 GS, Rijswijk, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)70 447 4654
Mobile: +31 (0)655 124116
Internet: http://www.shell.com <http://www.shell.com/>
EMAIL FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO WARWICK ENGLISH 5 AUGUST 2008
From: John Donovan <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 05 Aug 2008 15:59:14 +0100
Cc: “Ian.Whewell@hse.gsi.gov.uk” <Ian.Whewell@hse.gsi.gov.uk>, “Geoffrey.Podger@hse.gsi.gov.uk” <Geoffrey.Podger@hse.gsi.gov.uk>, “Kevin.Myers@hse.gsi.gov.uk” <Kevin.Myers@hse.gsi.gov.uk>, “Cambell1944@aol.com” <Cambell1944@aol.com>, “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>, “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>, “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
Conversation: Your Email of 28th July to Mr Michiel Brandjes
Subject: Re: Your Email of 28th July to Mr Michiel Brandjes
Dear Mr English
Thank you for your response. I note that Shell had not indicated that anything stated by me in my account of events surrounding past litigation is inaccurate. I assume this is because Shell knows I have the relevant evidence, including the quoted written admissions from Shell and its solicitors.
Turning to the Public Statement of Mr Bill Campbell, if anything alleged or stated as fact by Mr Campbell is unfounded, then you already have grounds for legal action, as that information has already been conveyed to a third party, me.
As a long time Shell shareholder I would urge Shell to defend its employees – in this instance senior executives and officials – against highly damaging allegations if, as you contend, they are untrue. I would have thought that it is Shell’s duty to protect its employees against unfounded allegations, particularly if they come from an exceptionally credible source, as they do on this occasion.
Some years ago, Malcolm Brinded gave his full backing to a Shell manager who run a crooked tender for a major Shell contract. We have all of the documentation proving a conspiracy to deceive and cheat innocent suppliers in the relevant tender process. The contract was miraculously awarded to a company which had not participated in the tender. This was analogous to a horse winning a race in which it had not run. The Shell manager in question had a close personal relationship with the miraculous winner. He also had an offshore bank account. The documentary evidence includes the handwritten notes of the Shell manager setting out the plot which was circulated to his managerial colleagues. We even have his diaries. Despite a volume of irrefutable evidence, the relevant Shell manager was able to claim in his Witness Statement “the unreserved support I have received from Shell management to the highest levels…”
Since Shell was willing to back a manager with a track record of prior convictions for theft of intellectual property (Shell had already settled three High Court actions resulting from his dishonesty) it will surely wish to back more senior executives and officials it claims are the subject of untrue allegations arising from the deaths of Shell employees.
If Shell is taking legal action against Mr Campbell, then we will not publish his Public Statement and will await the outcome of the legal proceedings.
If Shell is not taking legal action, the failure to do so will be a factor taken into account in making a decision on publication after we receive the promised response from the HSE.
I trust that you will notify the relevant named Shell executives and officials of the content of this email.
EMAILED LETTER RECEIVED FROM MR ALEX BRETT-HOLT, LEGAL ADVISOR, HSE: 7 AUGUST 2008
Legal Adviser HSC/E
Legal Adviserâ€™s Office
2 Southwark Bridge
Date: 7 August 2008
Dear Mr Donovan
ALLEGATIONS OF MR CAMPBELL
I refer to your email to Geoffrey Podger of 28 July 2008. The Public Statement attached to it is clearly defamatory of individual members of HSEâ€™s staff. I would urge you therefore not to publish it.
Legal Adviser HSE
EMAIL FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO MR BRETT-HOLT: 11 AUGUST 2008
From: John Donovan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 11:48:05 +0100
To: <Alex.Brett-Holt@hse.gsi.gov.uk>, “Geoffrey.Podger@hse.gsi.gov.uk” <Geoffrey.Podger@hse.gsi.gov.uk>, “Ian.Whewell@hse.gsi.gov.uk” <Ian.Whewell@hse.gsi.gov.uk>
Cc: “Cambell1944@aol.com” <Cambell1944@aol.com>
Conversation: Allegations of Mr Campbell
Subject: Re: Allegations of Mr Campbell
Dear Mr Brett-Holt
Thank you for your response on behalf of Mr Podger.
It is my understanding that there is no defamation if what is stated is true. You have not indicated that any specific allegation against any named HSE employee is categorically untrue. Instead you have provided a blanket denial and a request that we do not publish the Public Statement.
Given the serious nature of the allegations made by Mr Campbell and our wish not to be unfair towards HSE employees, I have corresponded with Mr Campbell over the weekend and have also spoken to him.
The following are extracts from one email received from Mr Campbell…
I have given Podger every chance to reply to the questions
Why in November 2003 when Hill presented to them what is generally agreed by them to have been a systemic failure in essential controls across the Shell oil field (16 installations in addition to BB) did they not take action to reduce the risks to the workers, after all reducing risks to protect people is the very essence of why they exist, funded by your hard earned tax pennies – no answer to me, the Scottish legal community, the trade unions or the DWP select committee that is why the latter printed my evidence?
Why, by their own admission in correspondence did they raise no enforcement notices on the said 16 installations, why did they not request Shell to assess the risks as tolerable and why did they not ensure the workers were told of the risks they ran by just being out there? – again no answer
Why according to an official version of events not refuted by the Lord Advocate did they not put the evidence of the systemic failures in November 2003 before the Sheriff at the Inquiry, and why will they not answered the charges put by a Trade Union official and a Solicitor that they undermined the worth of the evidence by defaming the character of the person who provided the evidence direct to the Fiscal on 7th November 2005 to be informed that this was the first time he had seen it?
If Podger were to answer these questions I would drop my interest in them because if answered truthfully they would be the catalyst for the fall of the current House of Shell.
Mr Campbell says that he has already circulated his Public Statement to several parties including the First Ministers Office. This is of course in addition to the copy sent to us. Consequently the HSE already has grounds on which to take action against Mr Campbell.
If you confirm that such action is being actively considered or taken, then we will not publish and will await the outcome of your deliberations or the outcome of the litigation, whichever is appropriate. I feel certain that the HSE will want to protect its employees if they are being defamed as you claim. Indeed I would have thought that it is the duty of the HSE to take legal action given that the allegations stem from a highly credible source.
However, if we hear nothing from you by noon Wednesday 13 August 2008 we will assume that no action is being considered or taken by the HSE against Mr Campbell. We will in those circumstances publish the Public Statement because we believe the safety of North Sea workers outweighs all other considerations. Knowing Mr Campbell as we do, we are prepared in the absence of anything other than a request from the HSE, to back his expert judgement to the hilt.
EMAIL RECEIVED FROM ALEX BRETT-HOLT HSE LEGAL ADVISOR, 11.54 AUGUST 13, 2008
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 11:54:34 +0100
To: <email@example.com>, <Geoffrey.Podger@hse.gsi.gov.uk>, <Ian.Whewell@hse.gsi.gov.uk>
Subject: RE: Allegations of Mr Campbell
Dear Mr Donovan
I have nothing to add to our previous reply to you and our previous replies to Mr Campbell.
Legal Adviser HSE
7SW 2 Rose Court
LONDON SE1 9HS
PUBLIC STATEMENT BY FORMER SHELL INTERNATIONAL HSE GROUP AUDITOR, BILL CAMPBELL
Public Statement (given in lieu of a sworn Deposition)
The reason for this statement
As a contribution to the debate that will ensue around the 20th anniversary of Piper Alpha I wanted to make a statement summarising my struggle to get to the truth about how ineffective the current safety regime has been since 1999 till the present day. This statement may be timely given the recent announcement made by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions James Purnell to ask the HSE to review progress made in health and safety in the offshore oil and gas industry. I also understand that there may be plans to carry out a Review into the effectiveness of the current Fatal Accident Inquiry process in Scotland. In the Appendix to this statement are a number of questions (unanswered) put to the Lord Advocate about the effectiveness of the Inquiry held into the Brent Bravo fatalities in 2003 and the circumstances surrounding the handling of evidence. If nothing else comes out of this statement I will at least have recorded an alternative version of the history surrounding these fatalities, as it really, happened and to make Society in general aware that they had been duped and misled in this whole affair.
What was the Brent Bravo accident?
There was an influx of significant volumes of rich hydrocarbons into the enclosed utility shaft in September 2003 caused the deaths of two men. The consequences would have been much more severe if the gas had ignited. The instantaneous overpressure resulting from the explosion may have caused partial or total structural collapse at the weakest area where the topside of the installation mates with the concrete shaft. This would have been particularly so if, as had been historically the case, the overpressure vents from the shaft had been impaired from lifting freely due to heavy drilling equipment being stacked over them.
Although this accident had the disastrous potential of a Piper Alpha the Inquiry into Brent Bravo which heard evidence for 38 days could arrive at no recommended actions to prevent a reoccurrence. In my opinion this Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) was essentially a sham, taxpayerâ€™s money spent ineffectively with no added value. I explain these remarks in the following text.
In making this statement I should make it clear that it refers to the failure of the Duty Holder Shell, and the dealings that Company had with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and its branch in Aberdeen the Offshore Safety Division (OSD). It is not meant to be a reflection on any other Operator.
I recently asked to give a sworn deposition about this subject matter to the Lord President for Scotland Lord Hamilton or someone appointed by him. This was because the matters discussed here question the honesty and integrity of Crown and public officials. Lord Hamilton declined being unable to take such a deposition on the basis of correspondence. This statement will have to suffice and it will be widely distributed
What does the Statement discuss?
The statement tells a story of how between 1999 and 2003 there was a total deterioration of essential management controls offshore on 17 offshore installations operated by Shell. Although the fatal accident referred to above occurred on one of these installations Brent Bravo similar conditions persisted on the 16 other installations. Although the evidence highlighting the appalling conditions on all the installations was presented by Shell Directors to officials of the OSD only weeks after the accident in November 2003 this evidence was not passed to the Procurator Fiscal Depute Earnest Barbour.
This suppression of vital evidence from a public Inquiry was done deliberately by OSD officials with the intention of masking from public scrutiny the failure of that organisation to police effectively safety offshore on Shell North Sea installations with the principal beneficiary of this coincidentally being Shell.
That the evidence was suppressed deliberately is supported by the Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini in a version of events put to her both in June 2006 and in May this year and that she has not refuted this version when given the opportunity to do so. The Lord President and a number of MPâ€™s were privy to this verification process and witness to the Lord Advocates apparent acceptance of what I will now refer to as the official version of events.
What this evidence was, and its relevance to this public statement is explained in this link to the UK Parliamentary Select Committee who published this evidence in April this year. This Committee has oversight responsibilities for the workings of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as established under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Verification of this Public Statement with Right of Reply given to the Crown and the HSE
In the official version of events supported from the findings of an HSE internal investigation, and cleared for publication by the Lord Advocate, it would appear that OSD officials purposefully withheld the evidence explained in the Select Committee publication from the PF Depute. Earnest Barbour as PF Depute based in Aberdeen is the Crown official singularly responsible in Scotland for all matters related to investigations, and any subsequent prosecution, following the deaths of persons at work offshore.
The OSD officials had responsibility in Law as an enforcing authority set up under the Health and Safety at Work Act to reduce risks to protect persons working offshore. In gross violation of these duties they allowed the 16 offshore installations highlighted in the evidence contained in the Select Committee report to continue to operate whilst these were in a dangerous condition. Ignoring the mandatory requirements of the HSC Enforcement Policy the OSD officials issued no enforcement notices at the time to immediately reduce the risks on all the offshore installations, and took no measures to inform the workforce on the 16 effected installations of the risks they were under by simply being resident on those installations.
This information was provided to me in writing by Ian Whewell the current Head of OSD, who led the HSE internal investigation, and Geoffrey Podger the CEO of the HSE. These were the principal findings of the HSE investigation into the role played by their officials. This HSE investigation was instigated at my request when I raised concerns in 2005/6 with the then Chairman of the HSE. Although I am grateful to the HSE Chairman for instigating this investigation, and grateful that I was informed what happened, both Whewell and Podger have consistently failed to tell me why it happened.
The allegations contained in this statement (under the heading a Marriage of Convenience) against the OSD officials have been known to them for many months. Both the HSE and the Scottish Crown Prosecution Service (SCPS) were given notice to raise injunction to prevent the publication of this statement if they had justification so to do, or otherwise raise objections in Law to its publication but have failed to do this also.
Apart from the Lord President, and the Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini, the UK Members of Parliament who have supported me over the last year or so, namely Sandra Osborne, Lynne Jones, Oliver Letwin, Charles Kennedy, and Jim Cousins will if required bear witness to the truth of this statement.
Namely that right of reply was given to the OSD officials named in this statement and that the Lord Advocate did not refute the official version of events as explained above and in what follows.
The Role of OSD officials â€“ the HSE internal investigation
The main finding of this investigation was that within weeks of the fatal accident the Shell Director in Aberdeen Greg Hill along with the Managing Director Tom Botts presented to OSD officials Tom McLaren and Taf Powell the findings of their post fatalities Technical Integrity Review. The implications of all this are captured in the evidence put to the UK parliamentary Select Committee.
In summary this evidence showed that over a prolonged period of time from 1999 onwards there had been a collapse in internal controls related to the health and safety of workers on 17 Shell North Sea offshore installations including Brent Bravo. The principal point that should be made is that the four main causal factors related to the deaths on Brent Bravo also were apparent on the 16 other installations in September 2003.
None of this evidence was put before the Sheriff at the subsequent FAI either by Stuart Gale QC representing Shell UK (on the grounds that it would incriminate Shell), or David Sheldon QC representing HSE. It is entirely possible that David Sheldon QC representing the HSE was unaware that this evidence existed.
The HSE, namely its CEO Geoffrey Podger, has never refuted that this evidence was withheld from the PF Depute Earnest Barbour as this was established as a result of his own internal investigation. The MPâ€™s copied on this statement can verify this remark. My understanding is that because of this failure by the HSE CEO to explain why, the MPâ€™s insisted that the evidence I provided for the attention of the Chairman and the parliamentary Select Committee members, be made available to the public in the subsequent report.
That none of this evidence was put before the Sheriff is indisputable by only a cursory examination of the FAI report.
For example the FAI into the deaths on Brent Bravo concluded that the initiating event was a leakage of hydrocarbons from an unapproved temporary repair. Evidence presented to OSD officials Tom McLaren and Taf Powell by the Shell Director Greg Hill in November 2003 was that hundreds of such unapproved repairs were present on all Shell North Sea installations at the time of the fatalities including many on Brent Bravo. None of this evidence was led at the Inquiry.
For example, the FAI into the deaths on Brent Bravo concluded that the significant volume of hydrocarbons entering the enclosed shaft was due to the failure of an Emergency Shutdown Valve (ESDV) known by the Operators to be in a failed condition prior to the fatalities. Evidence presented to McLaren and Powell by the Shell Director Greg Hill in November 2003 was that on ten offshore installations operations were allowed to continue in full production whilst ESDV were known to be in a failed state at the time of the fatalities. And/or where the failure of the ESDV to perform was masked by falsified test results at the time of the fatalities. None of this evidence was led at the Inquiry.
For example, the FAI into the deaths concluded that process plant and equipment had been knowingly operated whilst in a dangerous condition. In addition there was general neglect of essential maintenance, and there were endemic weaknesses in the application of the Permit to Work System on all North Sea installations at the time of the fatalities. Although this evidence was presented to McLaren and Powell by the Shell Director Greg Hill in November 2003, none of this evidence was led at the Inquiry.
Why did OSD cover up the true condition on Brent Bravo and a further 16 other offshore installations?
Failures of OSD to Enforce over a prolonged period of time
The HSE internal investigation found that OSD officials had failed to enforce Shell to comply with basic legal requirements for a prolonged period prior to the fatalities. Although 15 Enforcement Notices, many for serious and repeat offences, were issued from October 1999 up to the fatalities, with some 33 separate breaches of legislation, no prosecutions followed. At one point in October 2001 the situation got so bad (Shell had been in breach of legislation continual for over 18 months) that a Principal Inspector asked that Shell Directors be informed of his concerns so that they could intervene. This warning fell on deaf ears for in 2002 another 5 Notices were issued for repeat offences. Some of these Notices were still ongoing at the time of the fatalities and contributed to the deaths. All this is documented, either on public record,
or is documented in correspondence passed to me by HSE under Freedom of Information Act.
If the OSD failures had become public knowledge through the process of the FAI the public would have been made aware that these failures had contributed to the deaths on Brent Bravo in 2003. It was in the vested interest of OSD to hide these failures from public scrutiny to protect their reputation.
Failure to investigate TFA
During the period 1999 till 2003, Trade Unions such as OILC and AMICUS were vociferous in their condemnation of OSD for its failures to fully investigate concerns raised by workers on Shell facilities. These concerns related principally to the OSD failure to follow up the Touch Fuck All (TFA) concerns raised in September 1999 that were extensively reported by Scottish media.
The effect of the TFA instruction was to sustain a negative safety culture over a prolonged period of time. The symptoms of TFA clearly identified by a major Shell audit in 1999 were still apparent on all Shell installations in 2003 and directly contributed to the deaths on Brent Bravo.
The symptoms were numerous but can be summarised as criminal neglect of maintenance of safety critical equipment such that it could not, or may not, have functioned on demand, chronic weaknesses in essential management controls related to changes of design of equipment offshore. In addition knowingly operating plant and equipment in a dangerous condition such that production needs overwhelmed any regard for health and safety, and procedural anarchy, where essential controls such as the Permit system were frequently ignored or bypassed.
Criticism from Trade Unions of OSD performance
Another failure of the OSD highlighted by AMICUS and OILC in Newspaper articles at the time in June 2003 related to the findings of a major OSD inspection campaign. This inspection campaign was carried out after concerns were raised by workers re neglect of maintenance on Shell facilities and it reported in June 2003 giving Shell a qualified clean bill of health. The Trade Unions were sceptical of these findings and rightly so because only a few months later we had the fatalities on Brent Bravo and the appalling conditions on the 16 other installations as covered in the Select Committee evidence.
The conduct of the Head of OSD
Another factor may have been related to the character and behaviour of the then Head of OSD Taf Powell who may have been compromised by creating a conflict of interest between himself and Shell such that he could no longer act objectively or independently. Anecdotal evidence and witness statements freely given to me by Trade Union officials et al call into question the integrity of Powell when the Head of OSD in Aberdeen. This evidence was that he had compromised his position with the alleged excessive receipt of goods and services (entertainment, theatre, football matches, golf etc), he had they said become too friendly with senior Shell officials, gone native as they say, and was in the pocket of Shell.
I don’t think â€˜in the pocketâ€™ implied bribery, i.e. the financial inducement of Mr Powell or that he ever took a brass farthing from Shell but this can only be tested by a formal police investigation. However in anecdotal evidence Trade Union officials, taxi drivers, and Journalists use one common expression that Powell was in the pocket of Shell which has serious implications by inference. Prior to the publication of this statement, and as witnessed by the Lord President, the Lord Advocate and the MPâ€™s I specifically asked Geoffrey Podger to confirm if his investigation had found that conflict of interest had affected the judgement of Powell. Had he been compromised in his dealings with Shell, both in regards to the failure to raise enforcement Notices in 2003 on the 16 other installations, and the failure to pass vital evidence to the PF Depute and thus the FAI?
I stressed to Geoffrey Podger my reluctance to make such allegations against Powell public. Although I had witnesses, if he could assure me that conflict of interest was not an issue in the OSD decision making process then I would drop any reference to Powell and his achieved notoriety in the oil village that is Aberdeen. Mr. Podger has failed to reply to date. Thus the comments about Powell remains in this statement. Mr. Podger would also not confirm the understanding that Jake Molloy, Secretary of the OILC, and I had from our meeting with OSD on 31st August 2006 that Powell had been effectively dismissed as a result of the findings of the HSE internal investigation. His movement from Aberdeen to investigate the major Oil Terminal fire in Southern England may have been an opportunity to cover his removal from the position of Head of OSD.
Why did Shell cover up the true condition on Brent Bravo and a further 16 other offshore installations?
Failure to follow up on 1999 Audit
In 1999 a major audit was of the opinion that safety on all Shell North Sea installations was not being managed effectively. The principal cause of this pointed directly at the board of Directors and specifically Malcolm Brinded as Managing Director. In the audit opinion he had demonstrated lack of leadership and commitment to safety and in fact the drivers and messages coming from the top of the Company contributed in great measure to the negative safety culture witnessed offshore.
The conditions witnessed particularly in the Brent field were so bad that as a Shell International Group auditor I recommended to the Shell Directors on 22nd October 1999 that the Brent Management team be suspended from duty pending a disciplinary investigation into their conduct. This did not happen. A later Shell investigation found that in fact the immediate actions to reduce risk, including the suspension of the Managers did not materialise and the longer term actions to correct the organisations negative safety culture were truncated whilst only 20% complete. The same investigation found that Malcolm Brinded had in fact considered the removal of the Brent Asset Manager but had refrained from doing so on the grounds that his removal might effect his mental stability. The Shell investigators found this decision by Brinded inexplicable. That he had concerns for the individuals wellbeing was reasonable, that he seemed to have no concern for the hundreds or so offshore workers effected by the decisions of an Asset Manager who was the principal architect of TFA et al was incredulous. As a matter of interest all this is recorded on tape so that Royal Dutch Shell, who are aware of the existence of the tape, will not deny any of this. Perhaps the reader can begin to understand why Shell, in particular Malcolm Brinded, did not want any of this evidence to get within a million miles of the Fatal Accident Inquiry proceedings.
Inappropriate intervention by Oil Minister
Another factor may have been that the OSD position of independence was compromised by Shell, namely Malcolm Brinded as early as September 1999.
The Shell Audit team in 1999 could not understand why the OSD did not uncover the TFA malaise as the trade unions had raised this as a serious concern and itâ€™s symptoms were clearly visible offshore.
In October 2003 I met with OSD officials David Bainbridge and Tom McLaren and asked them specifically about TFA. Bainbridge said that the OSD investigation into TFA in 1999 had been incompetently handled. I put it to him that the audit team (5 witnesses) had taken evidence that Malcolm Brinded through his special relationship with the then Energy Minister Helen Liddell had got the Minister to intervene with the HSE. The relationship was apparently based on a mutual interest in politics, the Auditors heard that Brinded was toying with the idea of getting into politics otherwise Brinded had led a cost reduction exercise called CRINE and that brought him into regular contact with the DTI and the Minister. It was assumed, but never verified by the Auditors, that through this process the effects of TFA were subverted as the HSE investigation was curtailed through the intervention of the Minister.
Whether it was the intervention of the Energy Minister or the incompetence of the HSE doesnâ€™t in essence matter, the effect was the same. It was the TFA instruction that drove the negative safety culture which in turn contributed to the deaths and it is likely that both Shell and OSD were very willing to subvert this information to safe embarrassment to a Government Minister, and to cover their own incompetence or corruption.
Malcolm Brinded who at that time was MD of Shell Expro was due to be interviewed in 1999 by the Auditors re this allegation. However this interview never took place as I, as Lead Auditor, was effectively dismissed from that role and returned to corporate headquarters in The Hague on the instructions of Brinded.
Prior to the publication of this statement, and as witnessed by the Lord President, Lord Advocate and the MPâ€™s I specifically asked Geoffrey Podger to confirm if the intervention of the Energy Minister in 1999 was a factor in the incompetent handling of the TFA issue. If it was not, and he confirmed this, then I would make no mention of this in any future public statement.
Geoffrey Podger did not reply to this request hence the comments re the intervention of the Minister remain in this statement.
The dire economic effect of closing in the Shell Oil Field
Another factor may have been Shell (as in 1999) using its considerable political clout and influence by obtaining Ministerial intervention yet again in 2003. Or more likely as with the issue of Enforcement Notices, shutting in whole sections of the field to deal with hundreds of unapproved temporary pipe repairs for example would have blown the whistle. As it was many of the 16 installations were being operated in a dangerous condition. The issue of immediate Prohibition Notices on those installations with unapproved temporary repairs (it was an unapproved repair that initiated the fatalities) would have seriously affected production at a time when we were approaching the winter weather window.
This would have been compounded by the immediate Prohibition Notices that should have been served on 10 installations where Emergency Shutdown Valves (ESDV) were either known to be in a failed condition or where the functionality of the ESDV were impaired.
In combination these 16 installations supplied at the time circa 30% of the hydrocarbons flowing from the North Sea and the loss of all, or some of these supplies, may have had a significant effect short term on the UK economy.
A Marriage of Convenience
My interpretation of all this is that it appears that Shell and OSD made a pact, an alliance, at their clandestine meeting in November 2003. It was a marriage of convenience serving their mutual self-interest to cover over the truth. I say my interpretation because as stated previously the HSE, OSD and Shell will not tell the story of why all this happened because I assume it is a story that would seriously incriminate them.
The agreement reached between Greg Hill and Tom Botts of Shell, and Tom McLaren and Taf Powell of OSD, was that in collusion they would give a common message to the PF Depute Earnest Barbour and Society as a whole, sing from the same song sheet so to speak. Thus masking their common failures over a prolonged period. Their strategy coming out of the clandestine meeting would be that they would widely communicate that the fatal accident although unfortunate was an isolated event, and not an indication of a general malaise in Shellâ€™s North Sea operations.
They would emphasise that the deceased could be blamed to a significant degree for their own deaths, this culpability being repeatedly stressed at the start, and end of the Inquiry, as could be verified by the Court transcript of proceedings. This was a cowardly and despicable act. Not only were Keith Moncrieff and Sean McCue unlawfully killed but both Shell Directors Hill and Botts, and the OSD officials McLaren and Powell, may wilfully have exaggerated the culpability the deceased had in their own deaths to hide from public scrutiny their own failures
As part of their strategy, and to mask that it was not an isolated event, but in fact a systemic failure in essential controls across the whole oil field, OSD purposefully decided not to raise any Enforcement Notices on the 16 other installations.
These Notices if they had been issued would have formally been routed to the installations. On these installations the Notices would have been publicly displayed on Statutory Notice Boards as required by Law and discussed in the Safety Representatives meetings with the Offshore Manager. Through this process the offshore workers on these 16 installations would have been alerted and become aware that Shell had a field-wide problem with the integrity of all its installations, and not a problem unique to Brent Bravo. But as importantly, they would have been made aware that there were problems on their installation, and as such the risks on their installation were well above ALARP levels. They then would have had the right in Law to question Shell about these risks and how they were to be mitigated either with immediate effect or over an acceptable period of time. This right in Law was removed from them as a direct outcome of the marriage of convenience.
The effect of the Marriage of Convenience on the Fatal Accident Inquiry and beyond that time
By implementation of the strategy developed jointly between Shell and OSD at the meeting in November 2003 the PF Depute representing the Scottish Crown Prosecution Service (SCPS) was fed a common story. That was in summary that the fatal accident although unfortunate was an isolated event and not an indication of a general malaise in the North Sea.
Both Shell and OSD would emphasise that the deceased could be blamed to a significant degree for their own deaths, this culpability was continually stressed at the beginning and end of the Inquiry.
Through this strategy both Shell and OSD communicated to the PF Depute the lack of necessity for a FAI. In return for no FAI being held Shell would as a part of the plea-bargaining process that obviated the need for a FAI they would safe the SCPS considerable time and expense by pleading guilty to all charges of unlawful killing. And so a deal was struck.
The Crown Counsel, who prosecuted Shell at Stonehaven, for the first time in Scottish legal history, bypassed the role played by the Lord Advocate in making a public statement that it would not be necessary, not in the public interest, to hold an Inquiry. The members of the Scottish legal community and the Trade Union members copied on this statement will no doubt remember this. I caused some chattering over coffee cups in lregal circles. Perhaps for the first time you are now aware of why this unusual decision was taken.
It was only some weeks later that the then Lord Advocate Colin Boyd reversed this decision stating that an Inquiry would be held in the wider public interest. I did in correspondence in December 2005 ask him why he made this decision, as it was clear that the Inquiry that was then underway was being held in a constrained and controlled manner, not at all a public ventilation of all the relevant facts, but he declined to answer.
If I can digress for a minute I made repeated requests to talk to CPS officials, and also made the same request to the then Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson but to no avail. Through my MSP Christine May I requested that questions be raised on this matter in the Scottish Parliament but that route failed also. All this is well documented. I will continue -
In Scotland it is possible to have a prosecution and a FAI. However according to Crown protocol a FAI will only be necessary following a prosecution if the circumstances and facts at the prosecution do not properly cover all the issues involved in the death. The Crown can give no clarity on what these issues were and they certainly do not get an airing in the Report of the Sheriff.
It should be noted that when asked to formally investigate these charges in 2005 that Shell went too far in the plea bargaining process the Shell Group Chief auditor Jakob Stausholm approached the matter with the Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer. He was informed by the CEO that he could not get involved and to stay out of the matter. There is documented evidence that validates this statement.
Evidence of the continued alliance between Shell
In June 2006 after the FAI and after the release of the BBC Scotland TV programme the Human Price of Oil Shell issued very strong rebuttal to the effect that they had followed up the 1999 audit with a vigorous and proper response. It states that it absolutely refutes that it has operated any of its installations at high risk levels and their had been significant progress and improvements in performance since the 1999 Audit.
The person responsible for that statement in June 2006 on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell, acting as Head of the Shell Crisis Reaction Team, was none other than Greg Hill who at that time was still the Production Director for Shell European operations in Aberdeen. He was the same fellow who in 2003 was horrified and shocked by the findings of his post Fatalities Review, and who had presented his Review findings to OSD officials in November 2003.
Although HSE had evidence to refute Hillâ€™s public statement of denial they did not do so choosing to remained silent. As a reluctant Regulator they did not issue an alternative press release dissociating HSE from the Shell statement. They were still in June 2006 clearly in collusion with Shell to hide the true picture from Society.
Lord Cullen in his Piper Alpha report placed great emphasise on employees offshore being aware of the risks on the platforms where they were employed.
Statutory provisions were made to inform the employees of the risks and if these risks changed significantly they were to be informed of these changes.
But here we have an example of a Duty Holder making false claims about the risks levels on its installations to Society as a whole but the enforcing authority knowing these statements to be false and misleading, lies if you like, allowed this to happen.
I wrote to Geoffrey Podger the HSE CEO at the time complaining that this was morally reprehensible. I am not sure whether he agreed or not with that opinion for he never replied. I subsequently wrote to Geoffrey Podger expressing the same sentiments when he allowed Jeroen van der Veer the Shell CEO to make public statements that there was never any verified evidence that Shell had ever falsified the performance records of safety critical equipment in 1999 and 2003. Again Geoffrey Podger knew this to be a lie but would not intervene. There were up to 2008 a number of other examples but I will desist to save paper, I am sure the readers will have got the message.
The involvement of the Crown Prosecution Service
By December 2005 the then Lord Advocate Colin Boyd and Solicitor General Elish Angiolini were fully aware that evidence relevant to a public Inquiry had been purposefully withheld by OSD officials McLaren and Powell.
When asked to formally investigate the role of their PF Depute Earnest Barbour in this affair they refused to do so. The Report from Earnest Barbour sent to Chamber Street in January 2006 has been withheld from me despite my appeal under the Freedom of Information Act which took over a year for the CPS to consider.
The only justification given by the Crown for not letting me get access to the Barbour report (even in camera by my attendance at Chamber Street) is that it is not in the public interest for me to view this Report. I understand the report will state that when I passed the evidence directly to him in November 2005 (the evidence as explained in the Select Committee Report) this was the first time he had seen it.
When in November 2005 he approached the OSD officials McLaren and Powell about this evidence and its validity I understand that he was informed by them that this evidence could be discounted, it was unsolicited, and in their opinion the ranting and raving of a disgruntled ex Shell employee. The assassination of my character is not important to me, what is important is that the only way McLaren and Powell could discount the evidence in the eyes of the Fiscal was to undermine the character through defamation, of the person who supplied this evidence.
The failure of successive Lord Advocateâ€™s to investigate fully the handling of this evidence makes them in my opinion accomplices after the fact in the covering up of the serious professional misconduct and potential criminal neglect of McLaren and Powell and Shell.
The Report from the PF Depute Barbour to the Crown Agent Brisbane would confirm this and that is why it will not be made public or shown to me, even in camera at Chambers Street. In an open challenge to Elish Angiolini I can state without fear of reprisal that the Crown refusal to give me the Report from Barbour is nothing at all to do with what is or is not in the public interest. Rather her refusal, making her party to lies and deceit surrounding this whole affair, is to mask from public scrutiny the serious professional misconduct of HSE officials and the part played in the covering up of all this by her obedient servant Earnest Barbour.
To misuse the qualifications that prevent disclosure provided in the terms of the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act to in an attempt to cover up potential criminal neglect and corruption of officials of an enforcing authority, and possibly the SCPS, if not illegal, is surely morally reprehensible. If it was not for the internal investigation carried out by the HSE, and the information provided to me by HSE under the Freedom of Information Act, none of this debacle would have surfaced.
Elish Angiolini is at the apex of an organisation with the awesome responsibility of prosecuting the public in Scotland. Yet here is an official, and an organisation, that is quite prepared to use its powers to serve its own vested interests by covering up what amounts to a perversion of natural justice. The acid test was when given an opportunity to raise an injunction, or otherwise refute any of what is covered in this document she has repeatedly failed to do so. Is this sustainable? I am sure the members of the legal community can agree, that such charges if not answered not only effect the reputation of the Lord Advocate and her officials but it will bring the Justice process in Scotland per se into disrepute.
9th July, 2008
Questions put to the Lord Advocate and the Reply to those Questions
The Lord Advocate has been aware of the general contents of this public statement for some time and I go to some lengths in the statement to explain how I verified the contents of the statement as accurate with her.
The CPS has in correspondence since 2005 appeared to accept that conditions had deteriorated on Brent Bravo and elsewhere over what Elish Angiolini herself describes as a prolonged period of time. But her position appears to be that the evidence put before the Sheriff had to be restricted to those specific deaths on that specific day.
According to written evidence given to me by the Area Procurator Fiscal for Grampian in fact Sheriff Colin Harris opened the proceedings by warning all those in attendance that the evidence given would be restricted as described above.
The truth is that this Inquiry was never going in any shape or form to be a public ventilation of all the relevant facts (1).
(1) these are the aspirations of the Crown from their own published research into what was expected in Scotland from a FAI from 26 Advocates Depute and Procurator Fiscal who came to the above conclusion
You can observe that in the reply from the Crown Agent that the Sheriff had been given a remit restricting him as to what evidence he could hear.
My point is that the Act does not appear to give any restrictions to a Sheriff as among other things he was expected to determine the reasonable precautions, if any, whereby the death and any accident resulting in the death might have been avoided. The defects, if any, in a system of working which contributed to the death or any accident resulting in the death and any other facts which are relevant to the circumstances of the death.
So why I ask was there any reason to restrict this Sheriff for this specific Inquiry? So when I say the Inquiry was purposefully held as a closed affair and not an open Inquiry, not in line with the spirit if not the formal requirements of such an Inquiry held in Scotland, then there appears merit in that statement.
This is what the Crown position is in relation to above
You are, however, also aware that the Sheriff presiding at the Inquiry made clear that his remit was to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Sean McCue and Keith Moncrieff only, and not to carry out a systematic examination of the safety processes offshoreâ€™.
All the evidence not put before the Sheriff clearly indicates that there had been, prior to the fatalities, and over a prolonged period of time, systemic failures in essential controls across the whole of Shell North Sea operations, These failures were driven and sustained by causal factors such as TFA. Because this evidence was not put to the Inquiry there was never any hope of this restricted, closed Inquiry getting to the root cause of the deaths.
As evidence of the scope of the systemic failures to remedy the situation of 500 unapproved temporary repairs, process equipment operating in a dangerous condition, correct years of neglect of maintenance of ESD valves with thousands of fire and gas sensors in a failed state was significant and costly. Shell eventually calculated they would need to expend in the order of Â£800 million to refurbish all the installations to get risks back to the as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) levels specified in Safety Cases. Five years on from the fatalities they still have a long way to go with some Â£320 million of refurbishment activity still outstanding.
So the problem I have with the Crown position is that clearly the Inquiry into the deaths on Brent Bravo needed to be a systematic examination of the safety processes offshore on all Shell North Sea operations. This was because the causal factors contributing to the accident on that installation were also apparent at the same instant in time on 11th September 2003 across the whole Field.
The fact that it was not an open Inquiry, the fact that this evidence was restricted from consideration meant not only that the deceased died unlawfully, needlessly, but that no lessons were to be learnt from their deaths to prevent a future reoccurrence. So they truly did die in vain.
In fact much to the consternation of the Trade Unions and some senior political figures even the closed Inquiry held over 38 days, an Inquiry that was long on what controls should have been in place, how the hydrocarbon process should have operated, was short on why it wasnâ€™t. And the Inquiry provided absolutely no recommended actions to prevent a reoccurrence.
Electronically attached with this statement is a viewgraph showing the absolute number of Notices (as indications of failures by Shell to comply with their legal duties) from 1999 till the beginning of this year. The facts are that after the fatalities the rate of issuance of these Notices has increased by 300% and the number of near miss high potential incidents have increased by the same order, all because in my opinion the Inquiry did not get to the root cause of the deaths. The reader needs to compare these statistics with mandatory Enforcement Policy. It should be noted that none of the 41 Notices issued after the fatalities have led to Prosecution although many were to reduce the risk of Major Accident Events and Ten were serious and repeat offences. Refer to Appendix Two
Questions put recently to Lord Advocate
The questions I recently put to the Lord Advocate, copied to the Lord President via his Legal Secretary Michael Anderson, and a number of MPâ€™s named in the statement on all the above and with reference to the contents of this public statement were simply –
1. Lord Advocate, now that it has been confirmed that officials of the Offshore Safety Division of the HSE purposefully and vindictively withheld evidence relevant to a Fatal Accident Inquiry from the Procurator Fiscal why is it not in the public interest for the police to investigate their actions? This investigation should include why they raised no Enforcement Actions or took any other action to ensure that the Duty Holder immediately reduced the risks on the 16 offshore installations discussed in the evidence?
2. Lord Advocate, why has the Crown never acted on this issue when these concerns were raised with the Lord Advocate Boyd by me as long ago as November 2005? I now understand, Lord Advocate Boyd was apparently informed by PF Depute Earnest Barbour at the time, in a Report, that he had not been aware of the evidence as discussed above till he received it directly from me at the commencement of the Inquiry.
3. Lord Advocate, why is it not in the public interest to retroactively prosecute Shell for continuing to operate 16 offshore installations whilst they were known to be in a dangerous condition. They took no immediate steps to reduce these risks, did not notify the workers of these heightened risks as required by Law, and allowed all the installations to continue production uninterrupted?
You can observe in the reply from the Crown overleaf with no effort made to answer the questions above. Like any good Lawyer she is not going to incriminate herself or the CPS by answering questions that to date she has been able to avoid.
LETTER RECEIVED FROM:
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
Crown Office, 25 Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LA Deputy Crown Agent
Mr John A Dunn, Deputy Crown Agent
Tel: 0844 561 2000 RNID Typetalk prefix: 18001
Fax: 0844 561 4070 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your ref: Our ref: JAD/LC/0203/08G & 0706/08G
Date 23 June 2008
Mr Bill Campbell Cambell1944@aol.com
Dear Mr Campbell
Thank you for your e-mail correspondence of 29 February and 20 May 2008 addressed to the Supreme Courts and copied to the Lord Advocate. I understand that the Lord President has replied to you directly and I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Lord Advocate.
I am aware of your previous correspondence about Shell UK Ltd following the successful prosecution of Shell UK Ltd in relation to the deaths of Sean McCue and Keith Moncrieff on the Brent Bravo oil platform on 11 September 2003.
That prosecution was raised after careful consideration of all of the evidence at that time. There then followed a Fatal Accident Inquiry which sat for 38 days, during which time the evidence of 61 witnesses was taken, either orally or by way of affidavit.
I know that you believe that you are in possession of information which would have been relevant to that Inquiry but which was not presented in evidence. You are, however, also aware that the Sheriff presiding at the Inquiry made clear that his remit was to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Sean McCue and Keith Moncrieff only, and not to carry out a systematic examination of the safety processes offshore.
I do not consider that there is any basis to reconsider at this stage the information you have previously submitted in relation to this matter. I hope this clarifies the position.
John A Dunn
Deputy Crown Agent
For your information, the relevant extracts from the Health and Safety Commission Policy on Enforcement and the requirements for Prosecution in the public interest
What does the Health and Safety etc at Work Act expect from Enforcing Authorities?
In the UK the Enforcement Policy is set for the Health and Safety Executive, named as enforcing authority under the Act by the Health and Safety Commission (HSC)
The Policy states that the purpose of enforcement is to ensure that Duty Holders take action to deal immediately with serious risks and to promote and achieve sustained compliance with the law.
And further to ensure duty holders who breach health and safety requirements, and Directors or Managers who fail in their responsibilities, may be held to account.
HSC also expects that, in the public interest, enforcing authorities will consider prosecution, or consider recommending prosecution, where following an investigation or other regulatory contact, one or more of the following circumstances apply:
Â· it is appropriate in the circumstances as a way to draw general attention to the need for compliance with the law and the maintenance of standards required by law, and conviction may deter others from similar failures to comply with the law
Â· a breach which gives rise to significant risk has continued despite relevant warnings from employees, or their representatives, or from others affected by a work activity
When should individuals be prosecuted?
Â· Subject to the above, enforcing authorities should identify and prosecute or recommend prosecution of individuals if they consider that a prosecution is warranted.
Â· In particular, they should consider the management chain and the role played by individual directors and managers. And should take action against them where the inspection or investigation reveals that the offence was committed with their consent or connivance or to have been attributable to neglect on their part and where it would be appropriate to do so in accordance with this policy.
Â· Where appropriate, enforcing authorities should seek disqualification of directors under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986
When is Prosecution a valid option?
Subject to the above, HSC expects that, in the public interest, enforcing authorities should normally prosecute, or recommend prosecution, where, following an investigation or other regulatory contact, one or more of the following circumstances apply. Where:
1. death was a result of a breach of the legislation
2. the gravity of an alleged offence, taken together with the seriousness of any actual or potential harm, or the general record and approach of the offender warrants it
3. there has been reckless disregard of health and safety requirements
4. there have been repeated breaches which give rise to significant risk. or persistent and significant poor compliance
5. work has been carried out without or in serious non-compliance with an appropriate licence or safety case
6. a duty holderâ€™s standard of managing health and safety is found to be far below what is required by health and safety law and to be giving rise to significant risk
7. there has been a failure to comply with an improvement or prohibition notice; or there has been a repetition of a breach that was subject to a formal caution
8. false information has been supplied wilfully, or there has been an intent to deceive, in relation to a matter which gives rise to significant risk
9. Inspectors have been intentionally obstructed in the lawful course of their duties.