Shell endangers Alaskan environment for tax-dodging

This video says about itself:

Peter Voser on Kulluk & tax avoidance during presentation of 2012 Q4 results in Jan. 2013

4 April 2014

This clip, taken from the presentation of Shell‘s Q4 2012 results in London on 31st January 2013, shows former CEO Peter Voser being blatantly ‘economical with the truth’ over the ‘tax avoidance reasons’ for the towing of Shell‘s Arctic drilling rig Kulluk.

Peter Voser was employed by Shell Switzerland until the end of March 2014 as adviser to the new Shell CEO Ben van Beurden. He likely received 635,000 Swiss Francs ($730,000) for three months’ work (source:

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Shell oil rig Kulluk ran aground in Gulf of Alaska during tax dodging bid, says US coastguard

Saturday 5th April 2014

Senator blasts ‘reckless’ tax-avoidance and ‘disregard’ for legal protections and calls for Shell to be held accountable

The US Coastguard said on Thursday that the grounding of a Shell oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Alaska in 2012 was in part driven by tax-dodging.

It said Alaska’s tax laws had influenced the decision to tow the drilling rig Kulluk to Seattle for maintenance.

Shell believed the rig would have qualified as taxable property on January 1 2013 if it was still in Alaskan waters.

The Kulluk broke away from its tow in late December 2012 after it ran into a vicious storm — a fairly routine winter event in Alaskan waters.

Multiple attempts to maintain tow lines failed and the vessel ran aground on New Year’s Eve just off Kodiak Island.

Several days before the tow initially broke, the master of the tow vessel Aiviq sent an email to the Kulluk’s towmaster expressing concerns about the conditions.

“To be blunt I believe that this length of tow, at this time of year, in this location, with our current routing, guarantees an ass kicking,” said the email.

The Aiviq’s master and towmaster asked Shell’s marine manager for permission to change course but the request was “not formally granted.”

The coastguard concluded that sufficient evidence existed for the relevant authorities to consider penalties.

Senator Ed Markey said that Shell should be held accountable for its “reckless behaviour” pertaining to its tax-avoidance motivations.

“This report shows Shell ran through every single safety and common sense red light in moving this rig because of financial considerations,” Mr Markey said.

“This kind of behaviour should raise major red flags for any future Arctic drilling plans.”

Environmental groups said the oil industry and government were ill-prepared to deal with oil development in the Arctic Ocean.

“Today’s report again shows that Shell did not appreciate or plan for the risks of operating in Alaskan waters, prioritised financial considerations ahead of safety and precaution and simply disregarded important legal protections,” said conservation group Oceana staff lawyer Mike LeVine.

“The report again confirms what common sense dictates: companies and government agencies are not ready for the Arctic Ocean.”

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14 thoughts on “Shell endangers Alaskan environment for tax-dodging

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  11. Arctic oil drilling will accelerate climate change at a crucial moment in human history when we need to switch away from fossil fuels.

    Moreover, an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean like the Deepwater Horizon spill of 2010 would devastate endangered bowhead whales, walruses, polar bears, seals and other marine wildlife.

    Please join Earthjustice in urging President Obama to suspend Arctic oil drilling.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik



    TAKE ACTION! Stop the Rush to Drill in the Arctic!


    Oil drilling platform off the coast of Alaska. (Florian Schulz /
    Shell Oil is rushing a plan to drill in the Arctic as early as this July!

    Take Action Today!

    Dear Reader,

    Now is the time to say no to risky oil drilling in America’s Arctic Ocean.

    The Arctic Ocean is one of the worst places to drill for oil. It risks a pristine region with irreplaceable wildlife like walruses, polar bears, and bowhead whales with the threat of an oil spill that could not be cleaned.

    Drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean is a very bad idea. Tell the Obama administration that it’s not too late to get it right and keep drilling out of the Arctic Ocean.

    Mistakes like we saw from Shell Oil in 2012 show Big Oil isn’t ready for drilling in the Arctic.

    Drilling for Arctic Ocean oil takes us away from a clean energy future. The science is clear that we cannot develop extreme fuels like Arctic Ocean oil if we are to reach climate goals and avoid the worst effects of climate change.

    Earthjustice is fighting reckless drilling in the Arctic Ocean on multiple fronts, as we have done for almost a decade. Since we stepped in, Big Oil has not been allowed to complete a single exploration well in the Arctic Ocean.

    But with an army of oil and gas lawyers and lobbyists working against us, we need you by our side to protect the Arctic for good.


    Eric Jorgensen
    Managing Attorney
    Alaska Office


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