Shell’s motto: Deny everything and admit nothing.

Growing up down south, Shell’s presence was enormously felt in my life because they had so many gas stations around that they were practically on top of each other!  Although Shell’s gas seemed to always be a little “pricey” at times, people were willing to spend the extra money for its gas because it was known to be of a higher quality than its competitors.  I also have a family member who is a manager at one of the gas stations in my area, so I view Shell in a positive light.  However, upon reading the Shell case in class, I found the incident between Saro-wiwa and the Nigerian government to be very disturbing.  I could not believe that Shell did not do more to try to help Saro-wiwa out.

For example, they could have used their dealings with the Nigerian government as leverage.  They could have stated that if the government did not offer him fair proceedings, then they would cut off their relationship with them.  Shell could have even looked into the case or acquired the best U.S. attorneys that money could buy in order to accurately and efficiently get to the bottom of matters at hand.  Afterall, they were making tons of money in Nigeria so what would the cost of a few attorneys matter to them.  Moreover, if Shell would have went all out for Saro-wiwa, this could have faired well with the public giving Shell a better image.  But what really rubbed me the wrong way was how their operations affected so many lives and they did not take any ownership of it, but instead blamed it on sabotage.  How can your company’s pipelines be woven throughout people’s yards and you take no responsibility in the harmful consequences that result because of it?  Insane!

But if this was not enough, I found a recent blog, WashAfrica, about a recent happening involving Shell’s oil leaking from their pipelines and plaguing farmers and fishermen in Nigeria.  Shell is now being sued because of it.  Well I guess the saying, ” History tends to repeat itself”, is true after all.  To my astonishment, Shell’s defense was that they could not be held responsible for the leaks because they occurred as a result of sabotage!  Does this sound familiar or does this sound familiar?  I believe it sounds familiar indeed!  Shell should grow some “kahunas” and man up to its problems, solve them and be more responsible in the future.

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5 Responses to Shell’s motto: Deny everything and admit nothing.

  1. KCasty says:

    I find it very ironic and comical even that Shell used the same excuse for both situations in which it was involved. I also find it interesting to read about your personal connetion with Shell. It just goes to show that you can never be too sure about the values and morals of a company until it is put into a situation where those values are morals are tested. While I don’t know how much Shell could have done in acting against the corrupt Nigerian government (even though they have been working with the government, it is probably easier to work with them than against them), but I agree that they should have made much more of an effort and used more much of their huge amount of money to try make much more of a difference personally, or at least raised enough awareness internationally so that other nations could chip in to help Saro-Wiwa out.

  2. eeewald says:

    The Saro-Wiwa case put Shell in a very difficult situation. They essential couldn’t win whatever they decided to do. If they publicly supported Saro-Wiwa and spoke out against how the Nigerian government was handleing his case then they would be damaging their relationship with a significant business partner. And if the backed the government and publicly supported them then they would expose themselves retaliation and and sabotage from the Ogani. We would all like to see corporations act on their supposed morals but at the same time they are in business to make money. Doing anything other than publicly saying that they were staying out of the Saro-Wiwa trial was the safest thing for Shell to do. It’s nothing to be proud of but if the desicion were up to me I would probably have done the same thing.

  3. Jordi says:

    I grew up in the south. In TN. I don’t remember that many Shells.

  4. Jordi says:

    Can you assess the quality of the blog you post to?

    What if it is due to sabotage? Does that affect Shell’s responsibility? Why does sabotage happen? Does Shell have an economic or moral stake in addressing the root causes of sabotage? They would like to have fewer spills, I imagine.

  5. Jordi says:

    The Guardian, a British newspaper, reports on this case. The article points out that this is a new precedent- for a Nigerian situation to be tried in a Dutch court. Is this anew face of globalization?

    Meanwhile, here is another choice quotation:
    “Last June, the oil group agreed to pay $15.5m in settlement of a legal action in which it was accused of having collaborated in the execution of the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other leaders of the Ogoni tribe of southern Nigeria.

    The settlement, reached on the eve of the trial in a federal court in New York, was one of the largest payouts agreed by a multinational corporation charged with human rights violations”

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