We are just working to die, say Shell workers in Nigeria
[Trade union federation] IndustriALL’s mission to Port Harcourt, Nigeria, found Shell workers living in shocking conditions with poverty wages, no job security and inadequate medical cover that is costing workers’ lives. Find out more here.
At the end of 2017, the Dutch ambassador to Nigeria leaked confidential information about a major corruption investigation into Shell to the oil corporation. NRC daily writes this based on an integrity investigation into Robert Petri. He was prematurely replaced as ambassador to the Nigerian capital Abuja in early 2019.
The ministry only intervened after two consecutive inspections: an integrity investigation into Petri, at the end of 2018, and subsequently a specially inserted investigation into the working climate at the embassy, at the beginning of 2019.
The initial investigation was prompted by a complaint about the ambassador’s integrity. It was about a trip he made with his wife in May 2018 on an aeroplane of a Nigerian gas company partly owned by Shell.
The two internal investigations revealed, eg, a sick working atmosphere at the embassy.
He also produced reports, books and opinion articles. In these he wrote, eg, that the greenhouse effect does not exist and that CO2 is not dangerous, but rather “good for plants”.
According to Follow the Money, Böttcher hoped to provide climate policy opponents with ammunition. His role in the environmental think tank Club of Rome suited him well. …
The Bovag [organisation of Dutch car dealers] also admits that it sponsored Böttcher.
SHELL FUNDED ANTI-CLIMATE LOBBYING LAST YEAR Royal Dutch Shell vowed last September to reach net-zero carbon pollution in its business by 2050. The vague goal seemed to become more realistic when the corporation announced earlier this month that its crude oil production had peaked in 2019 and would likely never increase again. Yet the oil giant has continued to fund a network of lobbying groups that fight policies to curb planet-heating emissions and rein in new drilling. [HuffPost]
According to the researchers, between 2020 and 2024 the fossil industry is pumping more than 1.26 trillion euros into new oil and gas projects. The pumped-up fossil fuels are ultimately burned and CO2 is released and that greenhouse gas retains heat. According to the report, the projects that are planned for the coming five years are good for 148 gigatons of CO2. That is just as much as 1200 new coal-fired power stations.
According to environmental organizations, the earth will heat up by more than 1.5 degrees, perhaps even more than 2 degrees. It was agreed in the Paris Climate Agreement that global warming should be limited to “well below 2 degrees”, preferably about 1.5 degrees.
Incidentally, even with the existing oil and gas reserves, it is not possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, the researchers say. According to Friends of the Earth, the new study “clearly shows that there is no room for more oil and gas extraction“.
‘Shell is literally destroying our future’. Extinction Rebellion targets the fossil fuel giant’s HQ in Scotland: here.
The beaches in northeastern Brazil have been smeared for weeks with washing-up oil of unknown origin. Local media now point to Shell. Shell denies involvement.
The oil washes up on the pristine white beaches that are usually mainly devoted to tourism, surfing, fishing and special flora and fauna, such as turtles and dolphins. The oil has since been found in 187 places in 8 of the 26 Brazilian states.
The first oil spills on beaches date from the beginning of September. Many of the beaches are now the sites of small-scale cleaning operations. Eg, state oil company Petrobras – despite denying involvement – has made 100 employees available to help with clean-up work.
In the oil residues two Shell barrels were found that contained lubricants for shipping, a reason for Brazilian media to scrutinize Shell. Shell’s Brazilian subsidiary had to answer questions from the IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources). …
However, President Bolsonaro has recently reduced the budget of regulators and so have the fines for violations. Bolsonaro, who regularly gets into conflicts with NGOs as a result of these measures, initially blamed neighbouring country Venezuela, the largest oil producer in the region. …
Daniël Gomez of Friends of the Earth recently visited the Brazilian northeast coast: “I was in Bahia state two weeks ago, where fishermen from the region exchanged experiences about this disaster. They were worried because nothing was done to clean the beaches, to trace the source. Neither is anything about this disaster published in the national media. The oil has since spread further, but there is no real plan to stop this.”
While a singer took to the stage (where there was a conveniently placed live microphone), another activist handed out leaflets, including a glossy spoof that looked like the National Theatre was inviting an open discussion about the morality of accepting oil company sponsorship. A third person joined in on cornet as security guards surrounded the singer.
After singing, playing and speaking their point for a few minutes, they ended the protest, to a gratifying round of applause from the theatregoers who had watched the performance with interest.
After leaving the building, the three activists and a friend continued to leaflet latecomers outside the main doors. The response was generally good.
A short film of the action is available in wmv and mp4 formats (mp4 can be read by the excellent free cross-platform player ‘vlc’ – a free download from videolan).
Shell Symphony was composed by Kate Honey in 2017 to call on Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw to end its partnership with the oil giant Shell. This is the film of the premiere on October 5th 2017, in a protest concert outside the Concertgebouw.
A group of activists threw ten thousand music sheets from the balcony in the Concertgebouw last night. The group, Fossil Free Culture NL, protests against the collaboration between the Concertgebouw and Shell.
The group protested at the Concertgebouw because the cultural institution receives sponsor money from Shell. “We cannot believe that they are sponsored as a public institution by Shell,” campaigner Maria Rietberg told NH Nieuws regional broadcasting organisation. “The Concertgebouw plays an important role in the world that we want to create together, free from fossil fuels.”
The action group previously handed out black champagne to visitors to the Concertgebouw. They also demonstrated against the Van Gogh Museum. That museum also had links with Shell, but they have since been broken.
The campaign #FossilFreeMuseumplein is not nearly finished when it is up to the activists. Ultimately, they want to ensure that no one public institution on the square has links with Shell.
When thereis talk about Shell abroad, the corporation is always referred to as Royal Dutch Shell. I know that “royal” means little, witness the existence of royal paint materials, tour boats, bicycle brands and brass bands. But still: if Shell lends itself to an Orwellian election show for Donald Trump, it will feel a little bit more rotten because of the Dutch link and the royal halo than if another oil corporation would do so.
Shell forced thousands of employees last week to enthusiastically attend a Trump visit to a petrochemical plant in Pennsylvania. That is, everyone was free to stay at home, we are not talking about North Korea, where cheering for the great leader is a religious duty. In America no one is obliged to worship the president. But Shell did impose a hefty fine on refusal: whoever did not want to be applauding sheeple for Trump had to take a day off, and would therefore not receive a salary. This also canceled the bonus for overtime – a total sacrifice of around 700 dollars.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which brought this news on Saturday, also reported that the good workers had to clock in at 7 a.m. and then had to wait until after lunch for the president. There were strict rules of conduct: no protests, no shouting, no dissent. So that Trump could claim without blushing or being ashamed that this factory would never have existed without him – in reality it is a legacy from the Obama years. Trump also denounced some Democratic politicians and called on Shell workers to pressure their union leaders to support him. They don’t do that? “Vote them the hell out of office!”
Coincidentally, the president
According to a Shell spokesperson, it was an ordinary training day, except that “the guest speaker happened to be the president.” That is of course possible. Every company gets the guest speaker it deserves. And Trump is the champion of the fossil sector, the man who withdrew his country from the Paris climate agreement; they did not have to be afraid at Shell that they had accidentally brought in a critical speaker. But forgive me if I take Shell’s solemn statements about their sense of social responsibility a little less seriously after this training day.
Trump visited a Shell petrochemical plant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this past Tuesday, but today the news slipped out about the coercive methods used to guarantee a larger audience for his maniacal rantings.
This 14 August 2019 video from the USA says about itself:
Dozens Protest President Trump‘s Visit to Cracker Plant
Dozens of protestors and some Trump supporters gathered outside the Beaver County Courthouse on Tuesday. KDKA’s Ross Guidotti reports.
On Monday, a UN fact-finding mission released a damning report that accused Myanmar security forces of genocide, saying that the military “kill[ed] indiscriminately, gang rap[ed] women, assault[ed] children, and burn[ed] entire villages”.
This is the most serious charge the UN can make against a government.
It’s unclear, however, what the new report means for the estimated one million refugees living in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
These camps became the world’s largest settlement of its kind less than a year ago, when Myanmar’s military launched a brutal crackdown that forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to flee northern Rakhine state in a matter of weeks.
The UN, Myanmar and Bangladesh had previously agreed that the Rohingya would eventually be returned to their homes. But until their safety is guaranteed and long-term peace is assured, it’s unlikely they will be able to go back.
Myanmar authorities have denied almost all accusations, refusing to cooperate with international investigators and human rights organizations. The UN team behind Monday’s report, as well the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, have all been barred from entering the country at all.
UN wants sanctions against Myanmar corporations, including Shell
The United Nations wants the international community to stop doing business with 147 Myanmar corporations associated with the country’s military regime. Sanctions should also be imposed against those companies.
In a research report, the UN mission of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Myanmar writes that 45 Myanmar companies have supported the military regime with at least 10 million dollars. According to the organization, the corporations could know that the money would be used by the military to carry out human rights violations against the Muslim Rohingya minority in the Rakhine region between 2011 and 2018. This involves, among other things, building a border wall and infrastructure projects on the land of Rohingya.
Many of the companies mentioned have foreign business partners, including in the Netherlands. “Companies run the risk of contributing to human rights violations or at least financially supporting the military regime,” the UN said.
Although only a few foreign business partners are mentioned by name in the report, the UN states that there are many more partners. One of them is the Dutch oil corporation Shell, according to research by the NOS.
Shell has concluded an agreement with Max Energy Myanmar in July 2017 for the supply of gas stations. The relevant press release (.pdf) states that Shell pumps must be installed throughout the country within three years. U Zaw Zaw, chairman of parent company Max Myanmar, said at the time: “I am proud that we have concluded this agreement with Shell“. It is not known how much money was involved in the deal.
A month after the agreement, in August 2017, the military regime increased the persecution of Rohingya and 700,000 people were driven to neighboring Bangladesh. A new border wall to be built was to prevent them from coming back. In the research report, the UN specifically links two companies to finance the wall; one is Max Myanmar.
1.5 million for border wall
According to the UN, Chairman of the Board U Zaw Zaw transferred money in September and October for the construction of the border wall. In September it amounted to more than 975,000 dollars, in October to 654,000 dollars. In November he went to the border himself, the media reported at the time.
According to the UN, the company knew that their support would be used for “inhuman acts”. For that reason, the organization wants criminal prosecution to be brought against managers for involvement in crimes against humanity.
Last January, Groningen was also startled by an earthquake with a power of 3.4. The epicentre was then in Zeerijp, also in Loppersum municipality. 3000 damage reports came after that quake.
Update 30 May 2019: After the 22 May quake, almost 3000 damage reports so far, including scores from Drenthe province.
“This morning’s quake is now in the top 3 of the worst ones in Groningen,” says seismologist Läslo Evers of the KNMI. “This quake will have caused damage.” The heaviest quake ever in the province was in Huizinge in 2012 and had a force of 3.6.
They responded from Winsum, Ten Boer, Groningen city, Haren, Bedum, Zeerijp and Appingedam.
Prime Minister Rutte called the earthquake this morning “terrible”. In the Good Morning Netherlands TV program, he said he hoped the damage would be less than expected. According to Rutte, everyone in the nineteen fifties was still very optimistic about gas extraction, but it has now “turned into a nightmare”.
A comprehensive catalog of earthquake sequences in Texas’s Fort Worth Basin, from 2008 to 2018, provides a closer look at how wastewater disposal from oil and gas exploration has changed the seismic landscape in the basin: here.