London Rising Tide blockaded and shut down the Old Street Shell garage on the night of 14th March in memory of Shell activist and sambaista Val Dazzle, who lost her battle with Motor Neurone Disease in early 2010. They were joined by friends from Rhythms of Resistance samba band and other Shell2Sea friends in London. Val "Dazzle"- due to her winning smile - was a prominent member of London Rising Tide and the Band, with whom Val played for many years, even in a wheelchair just a few months before she passed away.
<!--break-->She was the first person from the UK mainland to visit the Rossport, Co.Mayo, resistance Camp. Still campaigning against the dangerous gas pipeline being built there, over and under quicksands and the bog (!).
The London, Old Street Shell garage has been closed many times by activists over the years and there have been several previous memorial blockades in memory of Val, notably the one in 2012, organised and effected for many hours by the Metropolitan Police.
As well as Val's huge ‘Shell Hell’ banner, this time there was a new very special banner with the legend “Val Dazzle shines on and on”. The entrances to the garage were closed down at around 7.45pm, and a string of motorists were advised to move on.
Activists handed out loads of leaflets to motorists and passers-by – these drew attention to areas of Shell mass destruction and climate chaos inducement: the Canadian Tar Sands project in Alberta, which if all is refined and burnt will cause a 6degreeC "warming" ; the Rossport pipeline and refinery ; and the River Niger Delta in Nigeria, where a "Deepwater Horizon's worth" of oil is leaked every year, going mainly unreported because it's in Africa!
After nearly half an hour, a lone constable turned up in a police van. He warned protestors that as they were ‘obstructing the highway’ they may be liable to arrest and pointed to the CCTV cameras, saying the protest was being monitored. He sent the driver of a huge 4×4 Range Rover on his way after he’d tried to nudge his way in by slowly driving at samba dancing activists and threatening a photographer.
For another 30 minutes, protesters allowed entry to the occasional vehicle but turned most away with persuasion and some fluffy bubble-supported stoicism, until the pub beckoned after successfully disrupting Shell’s business for more than an hour. There, toasts were raised to Val who would have soundly approved of the event. To those who knew and loved her, it was a special evening of tactical frivolity, no doubt they’ll be back in 2015 or maybe before.
For more photo's and details see further below and with thanks to:- http://indyrikki.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/london-rising-tide-blockaded-shell-garage-last-night-in-memory-of-fellow-activist/
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON WITH SHELL?
Early this year new CEO van Beurden replaced Voser (who took home £7m last year-half his 2012 pay). This was shortly followed by a massive profits warning, their first in a decade. Profit dropped by 38% in 2013 (still $16.7bn though!) and fell by 71% in the 4th Quarter. It is not known if these two events were connected.
Shell now aims to sell £9billion worth of assets in next two years to raise cash, cutting investment by 20%. This has already begun with disposal of two stakes in Australian LNG projects (£609m) and a stake in a Brazilian offshore oil project (£600m).
In the USA they are looking to sell their stake in the Houston-Houma oil pipeline in Louisiana for $1bn and slash spending on oil & gas production in 2014 by 20%. Shell intend to move most of the remaining 80% AWAY from shale gas into oil and "liquid-rich shale". The shale gas "boom" in the USA was only ever about getting at the associated, previously "difficult" uneconomic oil. 2013 saw Shell have $687m of writedowns on USA shale gas business. Apart from Shell, generally, USA shale gas extraction has only ONE field (Marcelles,Pennsylvania) that has not already passed peak production and currently it costs $1.50 to get back every dollar. Seems that bubble is now in an Old Street garage floor situation?
Shell have suspended their Alaskan Arctic Sea exploration project for 2014 (but could later resume). However, they continue to rapaciously push the boundaries of exploration and extraction by pursuing ever riskier "difficult" oil & gas projects involving fracking, tar sands and through deep water projects like their big hope offshore Iraq, with resultant capital and human costs. Sadly a German tunnel worker died last year on the Rossport pipeline, whilst the specialist tunneling machine was unprecedentedly boring through the infamous doib quicksand.
Finally, Shell gave notice that they intend to continue to split downstream operations into separate businesses, presumably with a view to sale. We also understand that from April, ALL retail filling station franchise arrangements in the UK will come to an end, much like what was already happening in the USA. This will leave such garages under direct Shell UK control. Bidders anyone? We understand a profit can still be made on some chocolate bars.
Back at Old Street, as well as the samba rhythms, there were dancers, and a giant bubble performance.