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Reported death threats against Shell Corrib employees

John Donovan -

Shell to Sea: [Towards the end of the email  are the latest emails leaked by Shell employees.]

Self-explanatory email sent to Republic of Ireland Chief Police Commissioner Fachtna Murphy reporting alleged death threats against Shell Corrib employees

From: John Donovan <>
Date: 26 October 2010 19:15:36 GMT+01:00
Subject: Alleged death threats made to Shell Corrib Employees

For the Attention of Republic of Ireland Chief Police Commissioner Fachtna Murphy

Dear Commissioner Murphy

I am writing to draw your attention to alleged death threats made against Shell employees – members of the “CelticTigerFive” – who have leaked information to me concerning the controversial Corrib Gas Project.

With the exception of this paragraph, Royal Dutch Shell has had advance sight of this email and has therefore had the opportunity to deny the authenticity of the latest batch of Corrib project emails leaked to me and deny any knowledge of the associated death threats. The email was sent to Mr Richard Wiseman, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and to the CEO of the company, Mr Peter Voser. No response has been received. This is apparently another taboo subject for Shell, like for example when I confronted the company with evidence of its key role in the Al-Yamamah oil for arms scandal.

I operate a website which for some years has regularly published leaked Shell internal emails and documents supplied to us by Shell insider sources – conscience driven whistleblowers.

Some of the leaks have been devastating to Shell. Leaked emails that I supplied to the Russian government concerning the Sakhalin2 gas project cost Shell billions of dollars, as reported in Prospect Magazine, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. Shell lost its majority shareholding in the project as a direct consequence. The last message I received from our main Sakhalin2 insider source reported that they had received a credible serious threat. The source disappeared without trace.

Shell reacted to the Sakhalin2 debacle by setting up a counter-measures team to combat our website and has also mounted a global spying operation against Shell employees in an unsuccessful bid to stop the flow of Shell insider information to me.

This all became apparent from Shell internal documents supplied to us in accordance with a series of applications made to Shell under the provisions of the UK Data Protection Act.

A confidential Shell internal email dated 9 March 2007 revealed that Shell had secretly set up the counter-measures team. As can be seen, the language used was decidedly aggressive.

In a Shell internal dated 20 March 2007 Shell staff discussed whether to set up “an information security tasking to discover where exactly in Shell their (good) sources are located.”

The following day, in a Shell internal email dated 21 March 2007 marked “Donavan CONFIDENTIAL”, there was confirmation that Shell had undertaken a global spying operation against its own employees in an attempt to discover the identity of employees supplying us with Shell insider information. The spying plan included monitoring “Shell servers globally to Donovan” and “monitoring web traffic to determine internal traffic to their website.” The objective was stop what was described in the same email, as “internal laundry”, from being published on our website.

Shell did succeed in having our website closed down briefly in 2007.  In 2008, it came under sustained cyber attack until we brought the matter to the attention of Mr Michiel Brandjes, Company Secretary & General Counsel of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. By coincidence of otherwise, the attacks ceased immediately, as if by magic.

A confidential Shell internal email dated June 2009 involving (CAS) Shell Corporate Affairs Security and NCFTA, a U.S. cyber-crime agency, partly funded and staffed by the FBI, discussed “investigations” relating to us and our website and said: “There will be no attempt to do anything visible to Donovan”. The implication being that the “investigations” would be “invisible”.

Shell’s spying against me and its own employees was reported in a Reuters article published in December 2009.

As you will no doubt be aware, Shell’s 170-strong security operation in Ireland has been mired in controversy, with local people being jailed for campaigning against the Corrib Gas Project.

Shell has been accused of responsibility for surveillance operations and violence directed at members of the local population.

Some related news headlines…

Shell Corrib Gas Controversy: Call for Investigation into boat sinking

Security firm for Shell at Corrib site rejects ‘conclusion on alleged assault’

Focus on sinister events surrounding Shell Corrib Gas project

Corrib link to Irish man’s death

Since 22 July 2010, we have been publishing leaked Shell internal emails relating to the Corrib Gas Project. I supplied the initial leaked emails to Mr Richard Wiseman, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.  The correspondence is published in the related article: “Leaked Shell internal emails reveal concern over Corrib subsea wells“. Although given the opportunity to do so, he did not deny that they were authentic. I also checked authenticity with other insider sources.

We also published some related articles:

Shell Corrib employee group leaking information to website: 6 August 2010

Shell Corrib Gas Project flood of leaked internal emails: 9 August 2010


“We are Celtic Tiger 5 who are current shell employees working in/or for Shell Ireland. We represent HSE, Commercial, IT, Construction and are interested in spreading correct information to the outside world and our fellow citizens in the West. Please feel free to publish this information on your website…”

Corrib offshore embarrassing obstacle on the seabed 11 August 2010

Twister BV warns Shell of false Corrib Gas Project evidence: 21 August 2010

Allegation of death threats surrounding leaked Shell emails: 8 September 2010

In September our Corrib insider sources advised that a spying operation trying to identify and expose our sources was underway and certain security measures had been implemented by Shell. The sources also claimed that death threats had been made (which were specific in nature). The threats have apparently continued and are current.

On 6 September I advised the insider sources: “In view of the danger you are in, the best advice I can give is to do nothing further for the time being and see what happens.

On 8 September I advised: “You can follow the path I suggested and do nothing further at all for the time being – until you feel safe. Or you can stop your campaigning activity altogether and hope that the threats etc cease.  This would mean that you cease sending me leaked emails.”

On 4 October, I notified Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Mr Peter Voser of death threats allegedly made against Shell employees leaking information to us.

From: John Donovan <>
Date: 4 October 2010 11:54:52 GMT+01:00
Subject: Fwd: U.S. Dept. of Defense Confirms NCIS Espionage Investigation of Shell

Dear Mr. Voser

I have printed below an email that I sent to Mr. Richard Wiseman earlier today.

In view of the serious nature of this matter, I thought it appropriate to bring it to your personal attention.

I have also sent a copy to Mr. Richard Garcia at Shell Oil Company with this covering message:

Dear Mr. Garcia

I have printed below an email plus associated information sent today to Mr. Richard Wiseman, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.  I have supplied you with this information because of your own connection with the FBI bearing in mind that references to the FBI pop up both in the material supplied and in linked information.

It leaves me wondering whether the FBI is working in the best interests of the American public, or is being exploited as an investigative resource of a foreign owned company. In this connection, I draw your attention in particular to the article Royal Dutch Shell and the dark arts and the use by Shell of a cyber-crime specialist unit in Pittsburgh, partly funded and staffed by the FBI.

Your comments would be welcome.

I sent this message to Mr. Garcia because, along with Shell employees, I am the target of industrial espionage by Shell in which FBI resources have been utilised. I know this as a result of Shell internal communications supplied to me by  Shell in response to a SAR request. Reuters has already published an article on this matter.

I also want you to be personally aware that conscience driven Shell whistleblowers claim to have received threats, including death threats, made in an effort to stop Shell inside information from being supplied to me. I have evidence in the form of emails I have received from my insider sources.

That is disturbing to me and it should be even more disturbing to you bearing in mind that past undercover activity directed against me by Shell got out of hand.

John Donovan

There was no response from Mr Voser. Not even an acknowledgment, despite the seriousness of the allegations.

Our insider sources are determined that the alleged Shell threats and the industrial espionage operation directed at Shell whistleblowers will not succeed in preventing the truth emerging.  They have decided to put the public interest above their own safety and have supplied further Shell internal emails dating from 2000 to 2009, all relating to the Corrib project. The sources allege concern over radon gas levels, “poor design of underwater equipment” and that the state of the pipe “is really terrible, they are re-conditioned“.

We are not experts, so normally I would contact other Shell insider sources and obtain their assessment of the Shell internal emails as to authenticity, content and the related allegations being made. Unfortunately, in view of the alleged death threats, it would not be proper to draw other Shell insiders into such a sinister situation. Speaking as a non expert, none of the content appears to contain “smoking gun” revelations.  However, we have been advised that information proving conclusion between Shell and the Irish government will be supplied.

The situation in reporting this matter to you is complicated by the suspicion over Shell links to the Irish government and the Garda. As you will be aware, it is perceived by some members of the local population that Shell and the Irish establishment are on one side of the Corrib Gas controversy and the Irish people are on the other. Rightly or wrongly, the Garda is not considered impartial.

For obvious reasons, the “CelticTigerFive” do not wish to reveal their identities. We do not know how many Shell employees are actually involved. Multiple emails addresses are used.

There is probably not much that the Garda can do to investigate, but at least I have made you aware of the death threat allegations and of the industrial espionage operation directed against Shell Corrib employees. The death threats are an allegation. The spying operation is a provable fact.

If anything untoward happens, no one will be able to say that I did not inform the Garda about this matter.


From: Tomlinson, Chris
Sent: 11 September 2000 12:12
To: Grant, David
Subject: Radon Readings from Well 18/20-4


I have spoken with John Moyler  regarding the Radon measurements from well 18/20-4. During the well test operations it was noted that the Radon level was approx 3 times higher than the previous wells. It transpires that in wells 18/25-1 and 18/20-3 the calculation to transform the raw counts into a final reading was conducted incorrectly giving a value too low. The data from 18/20-4 is:

Reading 1    147 Beq/m3
Reading 2    110 Beq/m3
Reading 3    120 Beq/m3

The readings from the previous wells will be re-calculated from the raw data. I will let you know when I get an update.




Due to the very short half-life of radon, it needs to be measured ideally within about 4 days of the sample being taken.  The samples currently held by Core Lab will therefore be of no further use in determining radon levels.

Because of this problem, we made arrangements to measure the radon levels offshore at the time of sampling.  The level measured was 26.9 Beq/m3 (“normal” formation radon concentrations are quoted by the lab as being in the range 10 – 100 Beq/m3).

Unfortunately, only one measurement was made.  There is nothing we can do about this now but we have taken steps to ensure that at least three measurements are made on the Shannon well if it is tested.

Hope this is of use.  Please call me if you need any further information.


David Grant


—–Original Message—–
From: []
Sent: 04 November 2005 16:22
To: MacNamara, Andrew D SEPIL-EPE-T-IP
Subject: UK005439/TECHNIP/CLIENT/EMAIL/214 – PP Coating of Piping


In response to your email “4610005880/SHELL/TECHNIP/E/133 Response to UK005439/TECHNIP/VETCO/EMAIL/57 – Coating Proposal”, please find attached Vetco Gray’s proposal for PP coating of the pipe.  Vetco Gray Norway have stated that the Shell Howe procedure Q007-6 is
Thermolite’s Scottish colleague’s procedure and is not directly applicable.

As the FAT has been completed and approved, the rear alignment sleeve item 1 and the pipeline hub guide flange item 2 shall not be dismounted.
The consequence is that the area under said equipment will be left uncoated.

Please note that the pipes will during the PP coating process be subject to a temperature of 240degC for some hours.  The maximum operating temperatures for the XYLAN coating on the hubs are 180degC continuous and 232degC intermittent.  Vetco have no experience from exceeding the operating temperatures and can hence not guarantee the result.

Could you please review their attached document (“PP Coating of Piping”).


(See attached file: Manual Applicatio of 3 Layer PP Coating.ZIP)(See
attached file: PP Coating of

Andrew Wylie
Project Engineer
Technip Offshore UK Ltd.


From: Paterson, Steve SJ SUKEP-EPE-P-ED
Sent: 17 November 2005 16:54
To: ‘’; MacNamara, Andrew D SEPIL-EPE-T-IP
Subject: RE: UK005439/TECHNIP/CLIENT/EMAIL/214 – PP Coating of Piping


Excuse the delayed response but I’ve been out of the office for most of the last 2 weeks.

The issue of Xylan coating of the CS hubs has been raised previously with Vetco Gray following an inspection of the manifolds at Nymo which indicated deterioration of the coating. I would suggest we remove the Xylan coating and use something more suitable.

I will revert on the forwarded documents.



From: Pyle, Andy C SEPIL-EPE-TI
Sent: 19 November 2005 01:40
To: GX SEPIL All Ireland
Subject: Irish Shell – Update


I would like to give you an update on the dispute concerning Irish Shell.

As you may be aware, the Company and the Union were scheduled to be in the Labour Court yesterday to discuss certain issues related to pensions resulting from the divestment of Irish Shell.  In the event, the Court chose to spend time with both parties reviewing the industrial relations issues surrounding the sale of Irish Shell.

The Court spent a significant amount of time developing an understanding of the key points from each group and it was agreed that the Court would make recommendations on a process which the Court believe both parties should follow in order to come to resolution.  We believe that this recommendation will be made available on Monday.  In the meantime, I understand the threat of strike action is withdrawn.

Obviously we are hopeful that all sides can resolve the outstanding issues amicably and the involvement iof the Labout Court is most helpful in moving this process forward.

I will continue to keep you informed of developments.


From: Pyle, Andy C SEPIL-EPE-T-I
Sent: 22 August 2006 23:09
To: GX SEPIL All Businesses
Subject: INFO : Ireland – Slyne Erris licence round results


You may be aware that the PAD have announced the awards for the Slyne Erris licence round 2006.  Shell and Statoil were successful in an application for 3 blocks adjacent to held acreage in licence 5/94 (where a prospect extended into open acreage).  This is a positive outcome as we have been awarded the 3 blocks we applied for.

The licences awarded are shown on the attached map.

A second map shows the prospects in / adjacent to this acreage.




From: Duck, Geoff SEPIL-EPE-T-IP
Sent: 18 December 2007 21:25
To: ‘Allseas Corrib Project (E-mail)’
Cc: ‘Marcel Landwehr (E-mail)’; ‘Marcel van Schie (E-mail)’; DBN-CH Corrib Subsea SEPIL-EPE-T-IP; SEPIL-DCC SEPIL-EPE-IT-EA; Pugsley, Gordon O SEPIL-EPE-T-IP; ‘John Jones (E-mail)’; ‘Barrier Donegal (E-mail)’; Whitehead, Brian SEPIL-EPE-T-IP; Fretwell, David B SEPIL-EPF-E-P; Read, St.John MS SEPIL-EPE-T-IP; Phillips, Geoff M SEPIL-EPE-T-IP
Subject: COR-01-SH-ACC-E-1594 U/D Invitation to Internal Grit Blast & UV Paint Removal Trials


Further to recent discussions, we have updated the schedule as follows:

20 Dec 2007 – Trials for Removal of Internal Paint Using Grit Blasting (at Barrier, Newcastle)

The work will be completed by Barrier under the direction of John Jones. The trial is intended to determine whether the internal paint removal can be completed with a single or dual pass of the grit blasting equipment. The trial is scheduled from 1400-1600 and will be witnessed on behalf of SEPIL. A photo / video record will be made. Your attendees should arrive to allow time for safety briefing and talk through the proposed operation (arriving before 1200 – ask for John Jones).

Location – Barrier Limited, Stephenson Street, Willington Quay, Wallsend, Tyne & Wear NE28 6UE, Tel: +44 (0)191 262 0510

16 Jan 2008 – Trials for Anti-UV Paint Removal from 3LPP Coated Pipes (at Arctic Site, Killybegs)

The work will be completed by Barrier under the direction of John Jones. The trial is intended to demonstrate the effectiveness of Amphibians in removing the anti-UV paint from the 3LPP coated pipes. The Amphibians are water-jetting equipment that will entrain up to 50% abrasive material (garnet) in the jet used to remove the anti-UV paint. The trial will be witnessed by Brian Whitehead on behalf of SEPIL. A photo / video record will be made.

(Note that a trial will also be completed to assess the potential to roughen-up the surface of the 3LPP coated pipes in the event that tensioner slip trials show the current state of the sintered finish to be unsuitable. This trial will be a dry blast using copper slag abrasive).

14-24 Jan 2008 – Pipe UT Wall Thickness Measurements (at Arctic Site, Killybegs)

The work will be completed by Shaw under the direction of Barrier (John Jones). The procedure will be as used during previous WT measurements (as initiated by Allseas / Shaw in 2002). The measurements will be witnessed by Brian Whitehead on behalf of SEPIL. A report will document the measurements taken.

You are welcome to witness any of the above activities. Please confirm if you intend to do so, and the planned attendees on your behalf. All attendees will need to be provided with appropriate PPE.

Please note that Technip / Amek are also scheduling their final fit-up and pressure test of PSS Assembly to take place at Amek, Risoer in the w/c 14 January 2008. A formal invitation to attend these activites will follow separately.


Geoff Duck
Subsea Pipeline Engineer – Corrib Project
Shell E&P Ireland Limited
Corrib House, 52 Leeson Street Lower, Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland

Tel: +353 1 603  4891 Mobile: +353 87 950 3860


From: Taylor, Ian C SUKEP-EPE-T-D
Sent: 28 January 2009 19:00
To: Barratt, Thomas H SUKEP-EPE-T-D
Cc: Bakker, Eelco ER NAM-EPE-T-D
Subject: Corrib Leak rates for valve testing


I have been going through the leak rates as outlined in the standard and in the attached spreadsheet – I have added some notes and alternatives to your sheet for discussion.  I have copied Eelco as he has some more experience in this area then me.

I have also discussed with others in the industry and Shell.  The consensus seems to be that API is not suitable, and everyone does their own thing or lives with it but without being so obsessed with temperature for the SSSV leak rate.

Here are some thoughts.  When I am back next week, then we can finalise the document.


If we use the API method (pV/z = const) – as shown

Leak rate over 30 mins is ca 6 to 10 psi (depending on volumes and temps).  This is complicated by the pressure change from 1 deg C drop in temp being about the same…. I struggle to see this as a “practical” method of testing.  Would we need to measure temp at start and end and compensate ?

In the UK we use the 525/V formula.  This would give a allowable leak rate of ca 4 to 7 bar over 30 mins.

I have checked with Bill Bennett what the source of this argument is and it would seem that it derives from a Brent simulation based on gassy oil. Therefore, this is not really applicable (despite it being used in the UK for gas wells).

I checked the WIG and with Paul Hopmans (custodian) and we have an alternative that was discussed with API although not approved).  The premise is that the leak rate should not be in standard conditions for a deepwater subsea well.  If we assume that we have a leak of 15 cf/min at the ambient conditions of the wellhead, then I calculate the revised leak rate to be approximately 600 cf/min (at 370m water depth and pressure of 37 bar).

If you then follow this through, the revised allowable leak rate would be ca 19 bar (P101,P2,P3,P6) and 34 bar (P4,P5)… see attched Excel sheet.

I went back to see what was done for Ormen Lange.  Two things are interesting here.  Firstly, they are having problems with the API based formula as the temperature constraint is very strict and soon is going to result in large deferments.  Secondly, there was a report done by Exprosolft consultants. They investigate the effect of having 10* and 100* the leak rate for Ormen Lange.

(see link :

The conclusion was that the bubbles would be dispersed at 10* and 100* the rate

For the Ormen Lange case, two gas leak rates were considered; 4.25 and 42.5 Sm3/minute, corresponding to 10 and 100 times the present limit for acceptable gas leaks. Plume simulations and subsequent gas bubble tracking calculations indicated that the gas will be completely dissolved before emerging at the surface, i.e. no gas will come to surface in the cases considered.

The higher the rate the more there is a concern regarding erosion of the barrier.

I am mindful of not making this “too compliacted” and debating the exact leak rate we have.  I dont think there is anything “magical” about 15 scf/min and obsessig about whether the leak rate was 14 or 16 misses the point  -  I dont want to set us up for that sort of debate in the future (especially with a dry gas and your concerns about the valves ability to be fully sealing).

My proposal would be to relax the rate an accept 10* the API value, Therefore, we would allow ca 60 psi build up.  I don’t think we need to re-do the study to confirm this.

PMV Test

The API basis for the leak rate is a pressure rise of 1300 psi !  This is not really practicable.

The Norwegian Well Integrity Standard and the UK CoP acknowledge this by saying that API 14B can only be used where the observation volume is adequately large to give a meaningful test.  Clearly in this instance this is not the case.  Reference is made to the following study :

Well Integrity Performance Improvement Project WEIN 907, Xmas Tree and Annulus Valve
Maintenance and Integrity Testing Including Nnc Report, Krwswwd1998 Confidential -
983032412, EXPRO983032412, Apr. 1998

The conclusion from this review is that we should adopt the following as is now the case :-

Xmas Tree Valve     Allowable Rate of change
(inches diameter)    (Bar/10mins)
2 and <3            29
3 and <4            25
4 and <5            20
5 and <6            14
6 and <7             7

This has been adopted in Norway and the UK and for Corrib, the formula would equate to 14 bar for a 5″ valve provided the CITHP is such that the pressure above the PMV is bled to less than 50% of CITHP.

Similarly for the annular master valve assuming we have pressure in the annulus.  If not then it would have to be a cavity test.


Testing the  cavity of the tree.  If assume liquid leaks at 400 cc/min then we calculate a pressure drop of ca 800 psi.  This is high.  Based on the BP Veco formula of 2 cc per in of valve per minute, then the allowanble presure drop would be ca 27 psi.

Using the UK CoP we would have an allowable leak rate of approximately 50 bar in 10 mins (depending on the exact cavity volume).

Conclusion : for this test, the preferred allowable leak rate would be  stick with the one you calculated, but at the risk of being confusing !

Therefore, we do end up with a mix of standards/calculations, but I think we are within the spirit of what we want to achieve.

Sorry for taking so long, but this has taken me off a number of tangents.


Ian Taylor
Production Technologist
Well Integrity Team Leader – EPE

Shell U.K. Limited
Registered in England and Wales
Registered number: 140141
Registered Office: Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA

Correspondence Address :
Shell U.K. Limited
1 Altens Farm Road, Nigg, Aberdeen, AB12 3FY, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 1224 88 1462
Mobile : 07817021868



John Donovan