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Unravelling the Carbon Web is a project by PLATFORM. We work to reduce the environmental and social impacts of oil corporations, to help citizens gain a say in decisions that affect them, and to support the transition to a more sustainable energy economy.

Press Release - Shell misleads investors again as it lines up for Iraq spoils

Press release from Voices in the Wilderness UK and PLATFORM

See also, article in the Guardian

Voices and PLATFORM uncover oil company's secret Iraq move

In a move certain to feed the belief that the Iraq war was oil-motivated, oil giant Shell has now appointed a Country Chairman for Iraq. The Country Chairman role is the most senior coordinating job in a country where Shell operates, and indicates a significant amount of activity by the company there.

But the beleaguered company, already under fire for misleading investors about the extent of its reserves, will face further criticism for telling its shareholders it had no activity or plans in Iraq. At the annual general meeting of shareholders in June, Managing Director Malcolm Brinded unequivocally said, "We have no activities in Iraq yet; we don't have people in Iraq at the moment".

The latest move was uncovered by researchers from PLATFORM [1] and Voices UK [2], who found it in a recruitment advertisement for a public relations (PR) officer for Shell Iraq [3]. That advertisement seeks "A person of Iraqi extraction with strong family connections and an insight into the network of families of significance within Iraq".

The role of the PR officer will be firstly to build relationships with key decision-makers in awarding Iraqi oil contracts, and secondly to prepare a "reputation management plan", to prevent Shell being criticised internationally for its thirst for Iraq's oil.

Greg Muttitt, of PLATFORM, commented,

"Shell is an extremely secretive company - to the extent that it wouldn't even tell its shareholders its plans in Iraq. Shell wants to avoid public accountability for its actions - and it's hiring a PR officer to help it do this. This is the clearest sign yet of how developed oil companies' plans are in Iraq. It is telling that Shell made no announcement about this; that we had to find it in a recruitment advert".

Gabriel Carlyle, of Voices UK, added,

"A Baghdad poll conducted last September found that only 5% of those polled believed the US invaded Iraq to assist the Iraqi people; whilst 43% of respondents believed that the US/UK had invaded primarily to rob Iraq's oil. Shell's ongoing efforts to "establish a material and enduring presence in Iraq" - efforts founded on massive (and ongoing) military violence on the part of the US and Britain - clearly illustrates that Baghdad's residents have a clearer picture of reality that most British newspaper pundits."

Notes for editors

1: PLATFORM is a research group specialising in the environmental and social impacts of the oil industry.

2: Voices in the Wilderness UK has been campaigning on British policy towards Iraq since 1998.

3: the advertisement has now been taken down from the Irvine International website. It can now be seen here >>

See also press release, 16th June 2004:


Oil companies hungry for Iraq bonanza - survey