#Norway Oil and Gas Industry #Corruption Flows through Petroleum Geo-Service ASA (#PGS)
A Case Study of Multinational Corporate Corruption
The Government expects all Norwegian businesses to exercise corporate social responsibility, whether they are state-owned or privately owned, and whether their activities are in Norway or abroad. ~ Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Happily for human nature, there are always good, moral people who look at what’s happening around them and decide that they can’t live with themselves if they go along with it. Unhappily for human society, such people are almost always bullied, marginalized and destroyed. ~ Fintan O’Toole
The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are the people with something to hide. ~ Barack Obama, POTUS
Norway has a corruption problem that I have tried to illuminate through a number of online blog publications. Anti-corruption organization Transparency International publishes a Corruption Perception Index (CPI) list ranking global countries according to the extent to which corruption is believed to exist inside that country. Just to understand the perspective for this blog article, I am a USA (CPI 18) citizen who worked for the Norwegian (CPI 6) company, Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS), and its United Kingdom (UK CPI 8) affiliate, PGS Exploration (UK) Limited (PGSUK) when PGS’ nefarious under-belly was revealed to me. I have also worked in other countries around the world within affiliate offices of the same Norwegian company in Angola (CPI 164), Nigeria (CPI 136), and Malaysia (CPI 55). By this list, Norway ranks favorably. However, I know through personal experience the limits of perception in the absence of facts. Perceptions entice you into a false sense of security, or an underserved state of anxiety. And just because one does not have to slide some kroner to Norwegian officials to exit with a variety of Viking souvenirs, that doesn’t mean every business transaction consummated with a Norwegian is above board and serving stakeholders interests. The impact of corruption is the same for Norwegian people, and business partners in the corrupt transactions. The corrosive impact of corruption can destroy firms and with them, the livelihoods of stakeholders and shareholders who depend on a company’s success.
One major issue with the CPI is that perception is not the same as the truth. It is simply impossible to represent in a single number a complex issue such as corruption, and then compare countries accordingly. Corruption is a toxic virus and can be detected through a temperature measurement of the host and not the average room temperature, so to speak. To eradicate the virus, it must first be detected, then isolated, and finally all contacts with the host must be confirmed. The health of the hosts and contacts are often gauged through enterprise corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Unfortunately, CSR programs are often voluntary and mostly used for public relations. However, regardless of the voluntary nature of such CSR programs, it must be understood that labor standards and labor legislation must be respected by all companies doing business. Companies actually do have binding responsibilities vis-à-vis society and the countries in which they operate and the workers they employ. CSR programs are not the same as a vaccine and companies with only the veneer of compliance are likely even more susceptible.
Both companies and governments have a duty to ensure the full implementation of safeguards against corruption. These include a respect for the rights of workers and the vested interests of stakeholders. Both CPI and enterprise CSR represent perceptions and are combined to provide assurance regarding the business environment, including the enterprise values applied in conducting business transactions. Because of this, both CPI and CSR perceptions can themselves be manipulated into being vehicles for advancing corruption by the same methods con artists use to entice customers: through misrepresentations and duplicitous objectives. Therefore, what does the CPI even mean with respect to a multinational corporation? The Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE) requires that listed companies include particular content to be accessible on their websites. This includes content regarding corporate governance policy and CSR. The Norwegian government website outlines CSR expectations for companies in four (4) core areas. These core areas include: anti-corruption, workers’ rights, human rights, and the environment. The problem with this approach is that perceptions are not facts, and therefore is actually unhelpful and supports a distorted reflection of the truth.
I think that the legitimacy of the court would be undermined in any case if the court made a decision based on its perception of public opinion. ~ Samuel Alito
It is one of my responsibilities to ensure that staff, agents, and contractors understand exactly how they are expected to behave. ~ Simon Cather, PGS Marine Contract Regional President – Africa
To examine how enterprises manipulate perceptions and deceive stakeholders and shareholders into this false sense of security, we will refer to an excerpt from the 2013 Petroleum Geo-Services ASA Responsibility Report because I have particular personal insight regarding the highlighted case study.
Corruption is generally comprised of illegal activities which are deliberately hidden so as not to be detected. Therefore, how can the level of corruption be measured such acts are typically done in secret, under the table or behind closed doors? Corruption has a destructive impact on public trust and on the legitimacy of public institutions and business enterprises. No corrupt enterprise agent would reveal such behaviors. The corrosive impacts of corruption and subsequent anti-corruption efforts are too often viewed as macro-level problems. But, the reality is that macro-level corruption is really the summation of several micro-level corrupt transactions. Every transaction requires a “buyer” and a “seller” represented by agents with authority to consummate the transaction. CPI and CSR are mostly unverifiable and reflect perceptions of how business should be carried out with little supporting data of how business is actually carried out. This is because most corruption occupies the micro-level spaces between perception and reality of multiple transactions where perhaps only a small fraction of these are corrupt. Therefore, how enterprises manage and report the full-range of internal business processes to detect and eradicate corruption has far more significant ramifications and value in anti-corruption efforts.
The annual Responsibility Report is published in the March-April time frame of the following year. The referenced case study is particularly disturbing when one comes to terms with the levels of deceit, arrogance, and racism being manipulated and disguised through the publishing of such nonsense for stakeholder and shareholder consumption. Simon Cather, PGS Marine Contract Regional President – Africa occupied the corner office adjacent my office for most of my three years working for PGSUK in Weybridge, England. I left my role there at the end of 2013 as a whistle blower implicating Cather (and others) specifically in corrupt activities. So, it is rather irksome to see such a vile criminal sociopath highlighted within the pages of a PGS anti-corruption spiel. I have called-out Cather, and others, as a coward, liar, cheater, fraudster, forger, etc., through several published online blog articles during the past couple of years. Nobody from PGS/PGSUK has provided any responsible response. PGS/PGSUK agents remain silent. PGS/PGSUK agents want my publications to be ignored and my whistle to be suppressed. PGS/PGSUK agents want to be perceived as being above the fray of an unhinged ex-employee. PGS/PGSUK agents, as is the case with most corrupt abusers and criminals, try to marginalize and suppress their targets truthful voice.
I literally left my position with PGSUK in the Marine Contract Sales – Africa group for my own and my family’s personal health and safety. I had never been completely satisfied with the process and outcome of the formal workplace grievance that I submitted charging Cather, my direct line supervisor, Edward von Abendorff, VP Marine Contract Sales – Africa, and David Nicholson, Human Resources Manager with workplace bullying, harassment, abuse of position, defamation, and other health harming behaviors. What is most relevant, however, is that highlighting Cather was not an accident. It was an intentional inclusion to disguise Cather’s criminal and corrupt behavior and deceive stakeholders. Cather did not decide to publish his case study independently. The corrupt PGS hierarchy was fully aware of the formal grievance, the claims it made, and its final resolution. The directors of the PGSUK were Jon Erik Reinhardsen, PGS President and CEO, Gottfred Langseth, PGS EVP and CFO, Christin Steen Nilsen, PGS Chief Accountant, and Secretary Carl Richards, PGSUK Head of Legal. However, what is truly abhorrent is that PGS is actually projecting their own corrupt behavior onto Africa agents in a despicable paternalistic way implying PGS agents have the credibility and intention to flush out corruption when it mostly emanates from the PGS hierarchy residing in Norway and the UK. The CPI and CSR enable Norwegian PGS to deceive customers through the promotion of such misguided information.
Corporate social responsibility is measured in terms of businesses improving conditions for their employees, shareholders, communities, and environment. But moral responsibility goes further, reflecting the need for corporations to address fundamental ethical issues such as inclusion, dignity, and equality. ~ Klaus Schwab
No moral system can rest solely on authority. ~ A. J. Ayer Humanist Outlook
The online dictionary says that cognitive dissonance is the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change. The deceptive promotion of corporate core values and promoted perception presented within PGS’ CSR prose is at the crux of my conflict between truth and perception. However, during the past few years I have been able to process a wider breadth of PGS/PGSUK corruption. Much of this understanding has grown through my publishing online blog articles criticizing PGS/PGSUK agents and practices. I have gauged the reaction to these public allegations of corruption and crimes by PGS/PGSUK agents, as well as their bribed enablers. I had to reconcile that people with whom I had worked with and nearby, some for years, would agree to do terrible and harmful things to me and my family in order to protect corrupt power structures and advance themselves. I elaborate within my blog article, Workplace Bullying is an Agency Problem and Often a Crime (1-Feb-2016), that workplace bullying itself is corruption. Corruption is always a principal – agent problem. A principal-agent relationship is an arrangement in which one entity legally appoints another to act on its behalf. A corporation is a fictitious legal person. In a principal-agent relationship, agents are not to abuse their entrusted authoritative power and to act on behalf of the interest of the corporate enterprise. This implies fiduciary responsibilities to form decisions in consideration of corporate governance, policy, and legal compliance, especially with respect to workers rights.
Corruption can also be viewed as a collective action problem. A collective action problem involves a situation in which some group of actors would all be better off if they could all choose some action but for any one individual. This is a problem because each individual’s choice of an action that is individually rational produces an outcome which is collectively inferior for the whole group. Workplace mobbing is also referred to as workplace gang-bullying. I have argued that workplace mobbing is really more common than workplace bullying because a single knave or corrupt employees can easily be dealt with through functional processes within a compliant system. Workplace mobbing also implies upper management participation to facilitate the abusive targeting of an employee. Thus, workplace mobbing in of itself an example of a collective action problem corruption because such behaviors are inherently destructive to the health of the enterprise for a number of reasons which have been illuminated in literature. Participants usually benefit by cooperating with the corrupt power structures. I have also elaborated on how the human resources function is misused and weaponized by corrupt power structures within my blog post, When Human Resources is Corrupt (10-Aug-2015).
The fact that corporations are (unrealistically) regarded as individuals rather than hierarchical power structures where authoritative decision making and compensation are concentrated with a select few agents at the top facilitates a skewed view of enterprise corruption, as well as the best processes systems to both reveal and eradicate it. Ironically, and perhaps by design, accountability is usually borne by the corporate individual in the form of judgments and fines impacting shareholder value. Corrupt power structures survive by the collective support of corrupt decisions and practices. The law abiding and compliant agent who resides within such structures and are aware of such corrupted power are usually forced out by hook-or-crook. The fate of most whistle-blowers is not enviable and usually tragic. I have written over twenty blog articles focused on revealing PGS/PGSUK corruption and debauchery. I have reported PGSUK agents to the police. PGS/PGSUK agents pretend it is business as usual, as if it’s normal for any former employee to do such things. I left on what I am now confident was a fraudulent settlement contract constructed by the current PGS CEO and former legal compliance counsel, Rune Olav Pedersen (PGS #Pedersen). I have written several blog articles calling PGS agents criminals and fraudsters. PGS #Pedersen is either the most incompetent contract lawyer in the marine seismic business or the most corrupt. I have recently written Petroleum Geo-Services #PGS #CEO #Pedersen and the Management of Gang Rape (28-Oct-2017). (I suppose PGS #Pedersen may be both.)
The role of social media is critical because it helps to spread cognitive dissonance by connecting thought leaders and activists to ordinary citizens rapidly expanding the network of people who become willing to take action. ~ Simon Mainwaring
A fraudulent intent, however carefully concealed at the outset, will generally, in the end, betray itself. ~ Livy
The fraudulent settlement contract, which I did sign, was supported by illegal forged false instruments. I learned about this ten-months after I left employment with PGSUK when I submitted a subject access request (SAR) citing the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and received the contents of my personnel file records. This is when I learned that false instruments supporting a false narrative were illegally being processed. At that point, I had thought that PGSUK was illegally processing fraudulent data in my name. No matter how much e-mail evidence I presented to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) who oversaw DPA compliance, I could not get any action. What made this possible was that my legal counsel, Philip Landau, currently of Landau Law in London, must have attested to the authenticity of these records. This made a DPA based claim next to impossible. It took me some time to come to terms with the fact that my engaged counsel was playing me as a double agent. None of the three legal counsel teams can tell me what documents were referenced during the negotiations. In addition to PGS #Pedersen, the fraudulent settlement contract and processes were also reviewed by the PGSUK Head of Legal, Richards, and his associate Ben Kelly. PGSUK also engaged additional legal counsel, Rhodri Thomas, of Watson, Farley and Williams, to resolve and finalize the fraudulent settlement contract.
Three sets of lawyers have tied a tight little bow of fraud and deceit to untie. None are cooperating in helping me unravel the mystery either. But, the truth is that the only formal action that I was involved in, with respect to PGSUK, was my formal grievance. This is what I was led to believe was being negotiated for my settlement contract exit from employment. However, I learned that my grievance document was destroyed and was not part of my personnel records. Also, certain occupational health nurse reports supporting my claim of health harming effects from the bullying were removed. Nothing supporting my grievance resided within my personnel file records. Instead, my personnel file held false instruments supporting a false narrative. Essentially, PGS did not settle my claim of workplace mobbing and harassment, breach of contract, breach of duty of care – twenty-one (21) pages of grieving. PGS/PGSUK had intentionally obstructed my legal right to submit a formal grievance. I essentially had to force PGS/PGSUKs to acknowledge acceptance. PGS/PGSUK offered me a settlement contract to end the ordeal, rather than respond to the claims articulated within my grievance document. I did attend a grievance hearing, along with my witness and co-worker, John Barnard. I began contact with Landau around this time. The grievance hearing was chaired by Per Arild Reksnes, PGS EVP Marine Contract and Terje Bjølseth, PGS SVP Human Resources. It should be noted that I had requested and been denied being able to see the contents of my PGSUK personnel file during my employment.
The most damning document that was being processed in my personnel file was a forged document assembled by Nicholson (and Cather), and allegedly copied to Cather, and then signed by Bjølseth and Reksnes. While the law is not specific about every detail of an employer grievance process, employees must be notified of the outcome decision(s) and further be told that they have the right to appeal. Landau never related these facts to me after I engaged him. The mentioned document was created while Landau was engaged as my lawyer. The document is addressed to my attention, although I never received it. No lawyer has explained where it came from and no proof of delivery or receipt is provided. It is not signed by me. It was a conclusion to the grievance which was created to meet the legal obligation. This forged instrument references meetings that never happened and letters that I never wrote. The Memo references a meeting for 11-Sep-2013 which was postponed until 20-Sep-2013. The 11-Sep-2013 meeting is also referenced in a letter written to me trying to channel me into some Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). I recognized it as a bully tactic whereby unsubstantiated performance claims were used to end a career. My response to this unsubstantiated letter, which circumvented PGSUK policy and procedures and made false claims, was my grievance. However, the date on the letter was also never changed in my personnel records. I should also note again that my direct supervisor, von Abendorff, did not sign any of these documents either. This is yet another indication that they are fabrications and likely another transgression of official policy.
The Oriental thinks everything in the sense-perceptible world is ‘maya’; everything perceived by our senses and all thinking connected with sense perceptions is ‘maya,’ the great illusion. The only reality is the reality of the soul. What a human being achieves in his or her soul is reality. ~ Rudolf Steiner
There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. ~ Denis Waitley
What happened was that my more serious claim was subverted and denied and replaced with the unsubstantiated fake claim designed so that no one in a position of accountability or liability had to address any of the several issues brought forth in the grievance document. This was a conspiracy to defraud involving several high level actors from different firms cooperating to destroy my reputation, career and livelihood, and even the health and safety of my family. This is what will give me energy to carry on my cause for justice. Because, at the end of the day PGS/PGSUK agents had to provide misrepresentations to UK Border Agency in order for their performance based termination claim to be true. Because, only weeks before PGSUK and Watson, Farley, and Williams agents had forwarded forms pursuant to a renewed Tier 2 visa predicated on information stating that my services were required by PGSUK. PGSUK was also sponsoring my dependents on the Tier 2 visa and owed them a duty of care, as well. PGS/PGSUK also provided misrepresentations to the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, as well as the ICO to continue forwarding and processing – uttering – forged instruments. Two members of PGS Compliance were directly involved in these fraudulent actions (PGS #Pedersen and PGS # Bjølseth), has also perverted the course of justice through their continued silence and inaction in this matter. The PGS board-of-directors had been made aware of these concerns even before Qvam became chairperson. PGS corrupt power structures continue to support one another and allow the fraud and perversion of justice to continue. These are serious crimes which they are running from.
Nothing like this happens with only one bad apple. All of this mischief happened at the end of 2013. What were PGS really telling their stakeholders in their 2013 Responsibility Report case study? PGS board and management were feeding shareholders and stakeholders knowingly false information to entice people into a sense of false security. It is the same charade and confidence trick applied in the former PGS CEO, Reinhardsen’s Responsibility Letter. In spite of numerous queries, Reinhardsen has never once been compelled to be true to his words and address serious allegations of corruption. These queries are kicked into the tall grass out the public view. Reinhardsen is now chairing the board at StatOil. It was reported that he will receive a very generous pension for the next seven years from PGS. PGS never investigated Reinhardsen who was an active participant in fraud intended to destroy my family. The dysfunctional corporate compliance are not looking to root out corruption. They are obstructing and hiding its detection. Apparently, no one from StatOil has conducted due diligence on Reinhardsen and seen the numerous blog articles and unanswered questions exposing his corrupt and toxic management. PGS board and management are playing the Norwegian and global people for fools. They are implicated directly in the fraud and cover-up, as well.
This is all a high price tag paid by all stakeholders and shareholders of PGS. Recently, we learn that PGS #Pedersen has announced the new PGS corporate structure. Sadly, three of the four key executives: Pedersen, Langseth, and Reksnes, are directly involved with the continued fraud and perverting the course of justice. PGS is an organized crime syndicate connected to a group of corrupt former leaders who play an inside game with stakeholder and shareholder buy-in. The oil and gas sector has taken a heavy hit since mid-2014’s oil price collapse. Since the collapse, many hard-working and capable people have lost jobs and opportunities. However, instead of behaving honorably and responsibly, PGS has devolved into a criminal syndicate. To add insult to injury, the PGS board has advanced a crooked lawyer, PGS #Pedersen, whose entire body of knowledge of the marine seismic service industry is equivalent to what most seismic vessel shift leaders flush down the toilet each day, to the position of CEO. Nobody seems to care about the reputation of PGS stakeholders and its workers any more. Who can really have pride in cowardly and corrupt leadership devoted to self-indulgence and cover-up? I guess just having a job and stealing from the more talented does not take much of a conscience. PGS leadership is running away from their social responsibility and commitment. And we are letting them run? Norway and the marine seismic sector must demand executive accountability to the corporate charters and to the law, and of course, social responsibility.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
When the most important decisions are made in secret, we lose our ability to check the powers that control. ~ Laura Poitras