Credit: Maus Bullhorst | Follow The Money

How Shell influenced the Dutch political position on Russian gas

By Ties Keyzer, Olaf Geurts, | 11 September, 2021

With a sophisticated lobby, oil company Royal Dutch Shell influenced the political position of the Netherlands on Nord Stream 2, The Investigative Desk revealed in a reconstruction. The Dutch House of Representatives wanted to subject the exploitation of the controversial gas pipeline to European anti-monopoly rules. Instead, the government served the agenda of Shell, which supported its business partner Gazprom in its wish to keep as much Russian control of the pipeline as possible. 

The Dutch government failed to inform the House of Representatives correctly about the political developments regarding Nord Stream 2. The opening of the pipeline that will transport Russian gas directly into Germany will have consequences for the whole of Europe.

This shift of the Dutch position can be directly linked to a Shell lobby. As co-financer of Nord Stream 2, the energy company was not keen on limitative rules that might have a negative impact on the profitability of the exploitation. Neither were the Russians, of course. To help their case, the company set up a strong lobby, the documents obtained by The Investigative Desk reveal. Via a variety of channels, Shell knew exactly what was going on in the internal EU decision-making process, often even before the Dutch House of Representatives was informed. This put the company in a key position to exert its influence. When it became clear that the House wanted to vote in favor of the EC’s proposition to install the EU’s anti-monopoly legislation, Shell turned up its lobby a notch. With success. After a series of meetings with top officials and ministers, the Dutch government decided to support a compromise which highly reflected Shell’s preferences.

Read the full article on FTM (in Dutch). 

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