Royal Dutch Shell



Royal Dutch Shell is a fossil fuel exploration company. In the Niger River Delta, the company was responsible for an average of 2,976 spills a week between 1976 to 1991, on the land of the Ogoni people. The Ogoni say that Shell was behind the hanging of nine Ogoni activists fighting Shell, including poet Ken Saro-Wiwa. In Durban, South Africa, Shell is a part-owner of the South Africa Petroleum Refinery, where rates of leukemia are 24 times higher than the national average and children suffer 4 times the respiratory problems. Shell operates a chemical plant and a refinery in Norco, Louisiana, in a predominately black district, known as “Cancer Alley.” Seven workers were killed in a 1988 explosion at the refinery.



Liquefied Natural Gas, Lubricants, Natural gas, Petrochemicals, Petroleum


Top 5 Offense Groups (Groups Defined)Penalty TotalNumber of Records
environment-related offenses$718,137,955247
government-contracting-related offenses$264,069,4728
financial offenses$124,560,0003
employment-related offenses$117,103,65116
competition-related offenses$48,149,4592

(April 14, 2021)

Number of Records
Total Penalties
$1,274,523,970 (April 14, 2021)
Individual Records & Summaries
Royal Dutch Shell Violation Tracker Profile
Information in this section is drawn from the Violation Tracker database produced by the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First in Washington DC. It is the most comprehensive source of data on business violations of laws and regulations in the United States. For specific examples of misconduct, please click on the links.


Article Archive

This is the world's most destructive oil operation—and it's growing

Published by
National Geographic
Stephen Leahy

The scale of Alberta’s oil sands operations, the world's largest industrial project, is hard to grasp. Especially north of Fort McMurray, where the boreal forest has been razed and bitumen is mined from the ground in immense open pits, the blot on the landscape is incomparable.

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Shell plant at Norco stirred controversy decades before Clean Air Act allegations

Published by
New Orleans Advocate

When Iris Carter heard that the Shell Chemical plant near her childhood home in Norco had been ordered to spend $10 million on pollution control equipment to resolve decades of allegations that the plant was violating the federal Clean Air Act, she felt a variety of emotions. 

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Cancer valley pays a high price for South Africa’s oil needs

Published by
Mail & Guardian
Sipho Kings

Seventy-year-old Elizabeth Barnes wakes up at 2am, unable to breathe. The retired nurse, a resident of South Durban, gets up and, wheezing, draws a little air into her lungs. Her room is stuffy. She opens a creaky white door and goes into the narrow passage, looking for fresh air.

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Shell pays out $15.5m over Saro-Wiwa killing

Published by
The Guardian
Ed Pilkington

The oil giant Shell has agreed to pay $15.5m (£9.6m) 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.

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The oil spills of Ogoniland

Published by
The Ecologist
Amelia Collins

Oil still contaminates the Niger Delta, over two decades after Shell was first called out for its destruction of the land.

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Videos & Podcasts
Demonstrators on kayaks protested, as a huge oil rig arrived in Seattle.
Royal Dutch Shell ordered to pay damages for oil pipeline leaks in Nigeria: Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo
USA: Greenpeace activists protest Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig
Greenpeace protests at Shell refinery


  • A History of Royal Dutch Shell (a 4-volume authorized history) by Stephen Howarth (2007).
  • Behind the Shine: The Other Shell Report by Friends of the Earth and others (2003).
  • Dirty Profits 2: Report on Companies and Financial Institutions Benefiting from Violations of Human Rights (Facing Finance, 2013).
  • Enterprise in Oil: A History of Shell in the United States by Kendall Beaton (1957).
  • Lessons Not Learned: The Other Shell Report by Friends of the Earth (2004).
  • Nigeria: Petroleum, Pollution and Poverty in the Niger Delta by Amnesty International (2009).
  • Riding the Dragon: Royal Dutch Shell and the Fossil Fire by Jack Doyle (2002).
  • Risky Business: The New Shell by WWF-UK (2005).
  • Royal Dutch Shell: Overview of Controversial Business Practices in 2009 (SOMO, May7 2010).
  • Also see SOMO's 2008 report. Shell: 100 Years is Enough by Corporate Watch (UK).
  • Shell’s Big Dirty Secret by Friends of the Earth Europe (2009).
  • The Americanization of Shell: The Beginnings and Early Years of Shell Oil Company in the United States by Harry Bridges (Newcomen Society, 1972).
  • The Seven Sisters: The Great Oil Companies and the World They Made by Anthony Sampson (1975).
  • Use Your Profit to Clean Up Your Mess by the Shell Accountability Coalition (2007)
  • Shell Petroleum Development Company, the State and Underdevelopment of Nigeria's Niger Delta: A Study in Environmental Degradation (2005)
  • Sir Henri Deterding and the Nazi History of Royal Dutch Shell by John Donovan (2016)
  • Toxic facts about Shell removed from Wikipedia: How Shell became the most hated brand in the world by John Donovan (2017)


Recent & Ongoing Campaigns
Greenpeace protests against Shell plans to pollute North Sea

Greenpeace | August 26, 2020

North Sea – Today Greenpeace activists from Germany have launched a protest in the North Sea to call out Shell’s plans to abandon an estimated 11,000 tonnes of oil in the sea.[1] The Greenpeace ship Esperanza approached the 500m exclusion zone of Shell’s platforms in ...

Shell campaign

IndustriALL Global Union | May 22, 2020

IndustriALL is calling on Shell to engage with unions on a global level in a campaign to limit precarious work, improve health and safety, and ensure that Shell applies the same high-level standards at its operations everywhere, including suppliers.

Climate change: Extinction Rebellion end blockade at Shell's Aberdeen HQ

The BBC | January 16, 2020

Extinction Rebellion protesters have ended a blockade at the entrances to Shell's Aberdeen headquarters.

Shell faces lawsuit from climate change activists over fossil fuels

Reuters | April 5, 2019

Environmentalist and human rights groups said on Friday they had started a lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands to force the energy firm to cut its reliance on fossil fuels.

Shell ends National Gallery sponsorship – to delight of campaigners

Adam Vaughan | The Guardian | October 19, 2018

Shell has ended its 12-year sponsorship of the National Gallery, to the delight of campaigners who have fought to keep fossil fuel financing out of the arts.

Slick PR can’t disguise Shell's devastating oil pollution in Nigeria.

Amnesty International | November 3, 2015

Shell makes billions of dollars from selling oil and gas every year, and spends a fair bit of it on glossy marketing – including a project called #makethefuture, which asks young people for bright ideas to change the world.

'Shell no': Hundreds take to boats in Seattle to protest Arctic drilling

The Guardian | May 16, 2015

Donning wetsuits and life jackets, ‘kayak-tivists’ gather at a city park for ‘Paddle in Seattle’ as company’s drilling rig sits blocks away

Major Investigations
Milieudefensie's lawsuit against Shell in Nigeria

Milieudefensie | September 25, 2020

Milieudefensie, together with four Nigerian farmers, sued Shell in 2008. We believe that Shell is guilty of causing oil pollution in three Nigerian villages. This case is unique because it is the first time a Dutch company has been sued in a Dutch court of law and held liable for the l damage it caused abroad.

Historic Climate Lawsuit Against Shell Filed in the Netherlands

Center for International Environmental Law | April 5, 2019

Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) filed suit today against Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands to legally compel the company to address its role in the climate crisis.

Shell Oil Loses Arctic Drilling Lawsuit

Anastasia Pantsios | EcoWatch | November 13, 2014

In early October it was announced that the Greenpeace Campaign to get Danish toy company LEGO to sever its nearly 50-year partnership with the oil giant was successful.

Environmental Groups Sue Shell Oil for Clean Air Act Violations at Deer Park Refinery and Chemical Plant

Mike Metzger | Environment Texas | January 7, 2008

Sierra Club and Environment Texas filed a lawsuit today in federal district court against Shell Oil Company and several affiliates.

Shell's shame: FSA spells out abuse

Terry Macalister | The Guardian | August 24, 2004

Regulator confirms £17m fine and accuses group of 'unprecedented misconduct' in oil and gas reserves scandal

Employment Practices
Shell Freezing Salaries for Majority of Staff

Laura Hurst | Bloomberg | February 11, 2021

Royal Dutch Shell Plc will not raise salaries for most of its employees this year, according to people with knowledge of the matter, as it looks to save cash amid an overhaul of the company.

Former Royal Dutch Shell Oil Employee Sues for National Origin, Race Discrimination

India West | March 20, 2019

A former employee of Royal Dutch Shell Oil, who had worked with the company for more than 20 years, filed a lawsuit Dec. 10, 2018 in Harris County, Texas District Court, alleging he was discriminated against because of his national origin, which the multinational corporation wrongly perceived as Indian.

Shell worker abuses in Nigeria taken to UN Human Rights Council

IndustriALL Global Union | March 15, 2019

Royal Dutch Shell violations against contract workers in Nigeria came under scrutiny today at the 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Shell’s abuse of workers exposed at London green-washing festival

IndustriALL Global Union | July 4, 2018

IndustriALL Global Union is calling on Shell to respect the rights of hundreds and thousands of contract workers toiling at its operations around the world, as the company holds its annual green-washing festival in London. 

Shell’s disgraceful treatment of its North Sea workers: production and profits before safety and principles

John Donovan | Royal Dutch Shell PLC .com | February 1, 2008

“…this company is run by a bunch of ruthless bastards who would sell their grannies to improve shareholder returns, along with their ever increasing personal bonuses and pensions…”


Corporate Headquarters
Carel van Bylandtlaan 16, 2596 HR Den Haag, Netherlands
Most Recent Gross Revenue
$352.106 billion (2019) | source
Most Recent Net Revenue
$15.382 billion (2019) | source
Stock Exchange Tickers
Major Shareholders

Royal Dutch Shell shareholders.

Political Spending Profile of Royal Dutch Shell

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Subsidy Tracker
Subsidy Tracker
Subsidy Tracker is a project of Good Jobs First in Washington DC. It is the most comprehensive source of data on state and federal subsidies in the United States. For more details, click on the links.
Click here for details of subsidies received by Royal Dutch Shell
Major Projects
Shell to expand gas business despite pledge to speed up net zero carbon drive

Published by The Guardian | Jillian Ambrose | February 11, 2021

Shell has set new carbon emissions goals to become a net zero carbon energy company by 2050, but will continue to grow its gas business by more than 20% in the next few years.

Shell Plans to Resume Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration in Arctic Alaska

Published by High North News | September 23, 2020

Oil Major Royal Dutch Shell submitted plans to resume oil and gas exploration in waters off Alaska’s northern coast. The news comes about fives years after the company abandoned costly efforts to find oil in the Burger J prospect area further to the west and in much deeper water in 2015.

How Shell is devastating the Niger Delta

Published by Action Aid | November 27, 2020

As Shell faces climate charges in Dutch court, activists in the Niger Delta speak out about the fossil fuel giant’s devastating impact on their communities

Shell’s toxic legacy, Curaçao

Published by Environmental Justice Atlas | August 18, 2019

Curaçao is a Caribbean island, it is located about 65 km north of the Venezuelan coast in South America, it is an ex colony of the Kingdom of the Netherlands until it became independent (within the Kingdom) in 2010.

Shell approves plans to expand North Sea gas hub

Published by Energy Voice | Allister Thomas | October 12, 2018

The plans involve modifying Shearwater, which also serves the Arran and Fram fields, with a 23 mile pipeline so that gas is rerouted through the Segal line, rather than the Seal line which currently takes gas to Bacton in England.


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