Conspiracy, Deceit and Fraud in the Marine Seismic Industry
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.First Amendment of the U.S.A. Constitution
One should judge a man mainly from his depravities. Virtues can be faked. Depravities are real.Klaus Kinski
Truth be told, I believe that Jon Erik Reinhardsen and several of his executive cabal should be in jail. That’s how I feel about workplace mobbing, especially when it involves fraud. During the past several months Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) agents have violated every Code of Conduct and Core Value which PGS articulates on their web site. PGS has lied to their stakeholders, the UK Border Agency officials, and the Information Commissioner’s Office personnel repeatedly. I have alleged PGS executives to have obstructed legally guaranteed processes, forged official records, conspired to defraud, provided material misrepresentations, breached internal policies and several UK employment and contract laws. Most of all, PGS executives have abused their positions and violated their agency responsibilities of trust and confidence and duty of care to maintain a healthy and safe workplace. Forgery and the uttering of forged instruments is criminal behavior. According to the Crown Prosecution Services, fraud and forgery are punishable by up to 10-years imprisonment for each violation. This explains the silence and hiding from addressing allegations straight-on as a transparent and lawful organization would want to do as quickly as possible. However, in spite of having a legal team, human resources team, and contract team, PGS has been unwilling to present definitive proof of compliance and legal behavior, even though they state to the public and to me otherwise. PGS is mostly involved in a cover-up of corrupt and illicit behavior. PGS executives have been uncooperative and silent and demonstrated no interest in resolution, but instead have ran-away from accountability. PGS executives have compromised the reputation of PGS and the morale of its stakeholders.
On 6 September 2015, I published Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) CEO Jon Erik Reinhardsen Should Resign: Applying the No-Asshole Rule in the Marine Seismic Industry on LinkedIn™ (LI) Pulse. It was the most read publication that I posted on LI, based on recorded number of reads which was well over 5000 last time that I had checked. There was proportionately very little outcry over this post. There were warning that legal action toward me by PGS would be imminent. The named executives within the post have remained excruciatingly silent. On 20 September 2015, I published my follow-up piece on LI, Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) CEO Jon Erik Reinhardsen Should Resign II – A Bully Targets Reprise to provide context for the prior post. What is most important for readers to understand, especially PGS stakeholders, is that nothing has ever been communicated to me directly by either Reinhardsen or other executives within the year that has passed beyond their terse defamatory denial. Several additional articles have been posted focused on PGS management over the past few months, as well. My rebuke of the Reinhardsen regime has been grounded in their unwillingness to address the many inconsistencies in their fraudulent narrative construed and propagated by corrupt PGS Human Resources (HR), Legal, and Marine Contract executives. I came upon these inconsistencies through submitting a subject access request (SAR) citing the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) which allows data subjects the right to receive data that data controllers hold about them. I had written about this earlier, 3 July 2015, within, An American, the UK Data Protection Act, Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) and the Tyranny of “Accurate Data”.
My blogs are no longer posted on LI (however, they can be found here). Anonymous (to me) complainers led to my posted content no longer being accessible on the LI platform. My connections and membership in my group, Marine Seismic Survey, had kept steadily growing. Nevertheless, a few sympathetic to a corrupt corporation with salaried, albeit apparently incompetent and/or corrupt, marketing and legal teams thought censorship and continued mob-bullying of a target preferable to providing responsible and truthful answers. The content of my posts did not simply make claims that agents of my former employer, PGS Exploration (UK) Limited [PGSUK], were only mean bullies. Rather, my claims have addressed the retaliatory false narrative held within my professional personnel file after I left my employment with a settlement contract agreement. Settlements are offered mostly to prevent future litigation by terminated/separated employees. Following my protests to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about the false instruments that PGSUK held in my personnel file (so far to no avail), I contacted lawyers. Of course, the settlement agreement is the instrument to defend against such litigation. Since ICO never investigated even the most basic issues with my held records, I was in a bit of a fix. Similarly, Action Fraud in the UK usually does not investigate claims of fraud anyhow, but especially issues which they would regard as civil tort matters. That is the sad reality of victims of fraud. So, this is when I began the publishing of my story – the truthful narrative – because it mattered to me then and matters even more now. This was a bit of a risk since I had insisted on the inclusion of a mutual non-disparagement clause within the separation contract. Within my articles I have called PGS executives liars, cheaters, fraudsters, charlatan’s and assholes and my articles been in the first-pages of Google™ searches. I have also mailed my articles and/or links directly to the PGS Compliance Team and Audit team members for comment and received no response.
A writer should express criticism and indignation at the dark side of society and the ugliness of human nature, but we should not use one uniform expression.Mo Yan
Truth is the ultimate power. When the truth comes around, all the lies have to run and hide. ~ Ice Cube
It has now been a year since I posted the articles stating that Reinhardsen should resign from his position of President and CEO of PGS. I mostly recognized Reinhardsen as the immediate hierarchical superior above EVP Marine Contract Per Arild Reksnes and SVP HR Terje Bjølseth in the head office of Norwegian company Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS). I had filed a workplace grievance against my boss, VP Marine Contract Sales – Africa, Edward von Abendorff; Marine Contract Africa Regional President, Simon Cather; and HR Manager EAME, David Nicholson. These individuals are based in Weybridge, England. I worked within Reksnes’ Marine Contract division, and of course as a member of his group had met and attended meetings with him. I had never met Bjølseth. After many delays and obstructions to actually submit my formal grievance, Bjølseth and Reksnes finally listened to my complaint over video conference. One has to sympathize with the predicament of being a foreigner working within a toxic work environment. There was always (undue) influence and control issues simply because as a Tier 2 visa holder me and my family were in England at the request of PGS. I could not very easily leave my position in a toxic environment for another. I had always known that Bjølseth and Reksnes had rigged the process at some level by how they mishandled the grievance hearing. PGS mobsters/bullies would throw punches in forms of criticism of my performance, but never provide anything in writing which would then provide me the opportunity to sensibly address the issues. But, there really weren’t issues. That’s the point. It was always bullying and mobbing with the objective to have me lose my job and damage my reputation.
All of this malevolent behavior focused on me obviously did not seem correct. It seemed like a disguised constructive dismissal. So, while I was glad to escape England, I knew the process had never been fair. But, at the same time, I did not want to stay in England sponsored by a defendant in litigation. That would have been too difficult for me and my family to endure. We all left Weybridge, England and moved to Houston, Texas. While Houston had been my personal home of record for USA tax and legal purposes, I had been working overseas on vessels, in Africa, in Malaysia and then England for most of my time – 14 years – with PGS. My home of record for PGS had been Thailand while I was working rotation assignments. My wife and daughters had never lived in the USA before our move to Houstion. After about ten-months in Houston, I began to sense some strange vibes (retaliation). But, without direct evidence, there was not much that I could allege. It was during this time that I learned about the DPA and submitted my SAR to PGSUK. I noted many discrepancies in my personnel file which was included with my request.
The most noticeable falsehood which was presented within my personnel file was the 11 September 2013 date reference within two of the documents: the mentioned letter and a memo signed by only Bjølseth and Reksnes. The 11 September 2013 date stood out because it was the date when I had been first scheduled to present my grievance. However, this meeting was rescheduled until 20 September 2013. I had never received a corrected letter. No documents since a controversial meeting in June 2013 through to my settlement agreement had been reviewed or bore my signature or the signature of my immediate supervisor, Von Abendorff. I did not agree with the content held within the records either. I had email records which showed that the meeting had been postponed. I also had email evidence that my grievance was delivered 20 September 2013 and it addressed the issues within the letter too. The only formal process that was ongoing while I was employed by PGSUK was the grievance process which I had initiated. PGS had tried to insert a performance issue, but I resisted simply because I knew no documentation existed which I thought could support a legitimate termination. In fact, that was a central issue of my grievance. PGS never provided anything in writing. PGS had withheld critical 14 June 2013 meeting minutes which were material to a fair process and instead provided me with a letter with performance in the subject line in replacement several days later. No attempt to correct or address my claimed performance issues had ever happened. There was no meeting on 11 September 2013, especially one which addressed performance issues, which preceded the 20 September 2013 delivery of my grievance. But, PGS continues to fraudulently pretend that there was.
I believe the process of going from confusion to understanding is a precious, even emotional, experience that can be the foundation of self-confidence.Brian Greene
Reality is self-defined as the mob, any mob, writes its own history, never to be contradicted by the quiet statement of truth.Mike Barnicle
The grievance which I filed was predicated on a 13 June 2013 meeting and subsequent 24 July 2013 letter. I was invited to this ambush meeting on very short notice by Nicholson with Von Abendorff and Cather also attending. Obviously, they had planned this in advance. The ambush meeting was very offensive to me. I had to listen to unsubstantiated claims of performance issues. I had asked for minutes of this meeting soon after it occurred and also indicated that I thought it had been inappropriate and that I wanted to file a grievance. Following this email, PGS made a fervent attempt toward a performance based termination. The grievance expounded on the behaviors and violations in procedures and even contract and employment laws and claimed bullying and harassment. Employers, and especially high-level executives and directors bear responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy work environment and can be held liable if they do not. Workplace bullying and harassment are top-seeded and well documented workplace hazards. I cited academic literature, PGS policy, and UK labor laws within my grievance as well. What is interesting is that there was a change of PGS Exploration (UK) Limited directors 13 September 2013. Notably, the role of Secretary was changed from Candida Pinto to Carl Richards, both lawyers with whom I had worked with during my time at PGSUK. Richards continues to be Head of Legal for PGSUK. (Pinto is with Global Geophysical Services in the UK now.) Nevertheless, she was indeed a responsible director during the times of the documented events, including the 11 September 2013 (non) event referenced within my personnel file. Pinto also has tracked (liked) PGS LI posts where I queried PGS to explain these events (which they never did). (The flurry of queries followed by PGS deletions, followed by more queries, is what pushed my exit button from LI.)
Cognitive dissonance is the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change. PGS is a dishonest, corrupt and toxically hierarchal managed organization where bad behaviors propagate and are rewarded. This is the truth which PGS has demonstrated by inaction and silence. The last and only public statement directed toward me by PGS was within their LI comment space. PGS stated that they had investigated my complaints and determined that policies and procedures were followed. This posted statement within the PGS LI space for many to see is patently untrue. Before injecting my allegation into the PGS LI comment space, I had presented many queries through less conspicuous channels of email and telephone. Of course, I requested a thorough report be delivered explaining the many inconsistencies. But, these communications to the PGS Compliance Hotline go unanswered. The focus of the 24 May 2016 post, The Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) Ambush Meeting and the Definition of Fraud, in fact pointed out how ridiculous the Compliance Hotline team were to consider a terse declaration of PGS compliance anything close to an investigation. I have to state it again, the PGS Compliance and Audit team are an impotent farce. No meaningful report was ever produced and sent to me. I have been a data analyst most all of my adult life and also possess certification as a Lead Auditor for ISO 9000 Quality Management Systems. I know how meaningful audits should be conducted and how to analyze the results. The statement was just more cover-up by PGS executives. The UK and Norway agents/mobsters likely cannot believe that their American (USA) workplace mob/bully target would not and will not stand for a false narrative to be propagated by corrupt and cowardly high-level PGS executives. My truthful LI content is still preserved for posterity in the digital space beyond the reach of trepid PGS cry-babies, and from there more new content will continue to be published.
The first instinct of new workplace subordinates within hierarchical organizations is to be respectful and even diminutive to their hierarchical superiors. (This can be seen as weakness to a psychopath.) However, to actually be respectable requires that superiors adhere to stated policies and procedures. Those who do not accept accountability for the decisions that they make need to be challenged. True respect is only granted to those who accept and are fully accountable for their behavior. Corruption and abuse of agency power is not to be tolerated by those who dignify themselves in values, integrity, and character. When one discovers that the policies and processes that define the conditions of a professional business relationship have been transgressed the only honorable recourse and responsibility to the fair market is to engage and challenge the wrong-doers. This is especially the case when several agents cooperate to manipulate and obstruct the individual’s rights with the wanton intention of harming a target and his family simply because they are illegally afforded the power to do so. Such mobbing violence inflicts tremendous health and financial consequences to the target and their families. All this is done to support and protect a cowardly workplace mob of corrupt fraudsters such as Von Abendorff, Cather, and Nicholson. If these individuals had a shred of dignity or truth at their defense, or if they were held to do their jobs according to the Code of Conduct and Core Values – if they would have played by the rules – the events of the past year would have never occurred. But, this is not where we are. So, a corporation with a legal team, HR team, and contract team are not capable of providing definitive proof that they followed laws and policies. The conspirators and perpetrators of workplace violence and fraud can only continue to lie and whimper that they have done nothing wrong. Tick-tock, the truth can only lie latent so long.
If you don’t fix latent failures in your system, you’re asking for trouble.John Gould
It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.James A. Baldwin
While employed with PGS globally I had exchanged short pleasantries with Reinhardsen on his visits and actually sat at a table with him during an SEG Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. I never harbored any bad feelings toward Reinhardsen and he actually seemed pleasant enough. In 2013, PGS was still operating vessels equipped with conventional single-sensor hydrophone streamers as they phased in replacing them with GeoStreamer™. It was the S-class vessels capable of towing 14-streamers (@100m separation) and 6-streamer capable vessels which operated conventional streamers. The problem was that the S-class vessels did not carry enough streamers to allow maximum capable spreads. Many wondered why the 6-streamer vessel was kept operating at the expense of optimizing the S-class vessels. Within the Africa group everyone knew Von Abendorff was completely absorbed in the older low capacity vessels. (It is almost hard to imagine how he enjoys going to work each day without the low-capacity conventional streamer vessels to proffer and no target to bully!) Reinhardsen did not have much of an answer back then. However, since PGS had built a business model around vessels capable of towing wide-spreads to reduce project costs, maintaining the low-capacity vessels at the expense of the S-class seemed strange. I had limited information about what drove fleet decisions and was curious as someone who was in a position to see what customers and projects requested. From these interactions there certainly would be no reason to ask for Reinhardsen’s resignation.
The achievement of business outcomes is only relevant if enterprise management follows the rules. If they do not, it is called cheating and the performance outcomes are dubious at best. That is why compliance teams are in place and why how businesses address issues of internal governance and reputational risks is of principal importance to all investors in a company. Companies, like civilizations, collapse by the integrity of their leadership and the decisions which they make. It is the strategy of corrupt boards and executives to deflect accountability onto the unwitting investors and away from themselves while reaping misappropriated benefit. It is the strategy of corrupt boards and executives to also disparage those who reveal their malfeasance through further abuse of power and the violation of their commitments to that agency. It is preservation of the syndicate above the stakeholders of the company that defines corruption. Toxic management practices, such as harassment, bullying, and mobbing demonstrate poor management and control of workplace performance. It’s the misuse and abuse of resources to affect suboptimal performance. It is the practice of the dishonest, incompetent, and insecure to deliver unreliable results while hiding corrupt and illegal activities. It’s reprehensible and despotic behavior within the workplace that impacts every aspect of the delivery of products and services to customers.
Apparantly, PGS agents in Weybridge and Lysaker are betting on a bunch of white-collar criminals crying in unison to cover-up the truth. Bjølseth has been a dominant actor through every phase of my grievances with PGS. Bjølseth is also one of the Compliance Hotline contacts. He is accused of forging personnel records and has failed to definitively authenticate the documents he and Reksnes signed. Conflict of interests? The other listed members, Rune Olav Pedersen, General Counsel must be aware of the change of PGSUK Secretary 13 September 2013 and the liability ramifications of directors, especially those who fail to authenticate false records. Along with Silke Hitschke, Compliance Officer, these contacts have never provided any substantive report to me or the public. All have failed to prove otherwise. Emails have been sent to the Compliance Team with questions. The team have also been emailed the articles and/or links for comment and have never responded or disputed the issues brought-up. Yet PGS, as a major player in the marine seismic industry, had to rely on anonymous stooges to complain to LI to have my content removed. I should not be the only one demanding evidence and action. I cannot say that I know Reinhardsen. However, he made commitments within a letter to PGS stakeholders. I believe that a man who decides to facilitate health harming behavior meant to negatively impact the well-being of me and my family should show the respect and tell me why? PGS has the responsibility to explain the reasons behind their actions if they were all above board. But, we all know they weren’t. I may not know Reinhardsen, but I know his character. If Reinhardsen were an effective leader, he would want to know me better too. How long will PGS stop hiding from the truth? My objective is for it to be sooner than later.
Power should be reserved for weightlifting and boats, and leadership really involves responsibility.Herb Kelleher
Every time you make the hard, correct decision you become a bit more courageous, and every time you make the easy, wrong decision you become a bit more cowardly. If you are CEO, these choices will lead to a courageous or cowardly company.Ben Horowitz