No one deserves to be terrorized for any reason. In the workplace, mobbing is emotional and psychological terrorism deliberately inflicted on an individual with the express purpose of destroying that person emotionally, psychologically, physically, and professionally.
Mobbing can only persist as long as it is allowed to persist. Organizational leadership plays the most important part in its prevention. By enforcing decency, civility, and high ethical standards in the workplace and by creating a nourishing environment, bullying and mobbing will not surface.
Overall, our predictions regarding the correlations between the Dark Triad and bullying were supported. Psychopathy was the most strongly related to bullying, followed by Machiavellianism, and narcissism
I was represented by legal counsel, Philip Landau with LZW Law (he now is with Landau Law in London) negotiating a settlement contract agreement for my termination from employment following my submitting a workplace grievance (20 September 2013). Landau was engaged as my solicitor when this memo was created and I believe complicit in the uttering of false instruments used to support an illegal performance based termination of a US citizen employee whistleblower. Landau had been provided with all of the correct information to debunk the contents of this 25 October 2013 Memo.
Narcissistic Boss or Employer: Coping and Survival Tactics
The most dangerous culprits of gaslighting? Malignant narcissists, who, by default, use gaslighting as a strategy to undermine the perception of their victims in order to evade accountability for their abuse.
Discrimination, bullying or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated by the Company and all allegations of such behaviour will be dealt with seriously, confidentially and speedily.
UK COMPANY OFFICE PERSONNEL HANDBOOK
Within a previous MarineSeismicSurvey (MSS) blog post article, Submitting Grievances and Whistleblowing as a Foreign Worker – Part One: The Ambush Meeting (Part 1), the 24 July 201 Ambush Letter, was discussed. The 24 July 201 Ambush Letter scheduled another meeting for 11 September 2013. Of all the dates to choose to eliminate the American (USA) foreign worker, 9-11 was chosen as a meeting date with all its emotional symbolism. Minutes from the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting had been requested right after the event. These important minutes chronicling a distressing event were denied, but I pressed for something firm in writing. That was how the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter came about. Almost six-weeks following the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting, a letter was finally delivered to me. What was never answered in the interim or within the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter was how the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting conformed to the UK-England company written policy, procedures, and of course contract and employment law. The 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter actually raised similar concerns once it was received.
The copy of the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter scanned and referenced in this article was received through my submitting a subject access request (SAR) citing the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) in October 2014. The UK company is an affiliate of a Norwegian geo-services company (NGSUK). NGSUK personal data processors within the human resources (HR) group are processing this 24 July 201 Ambush Letter. Unfortunately, there are many problems with the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter. It would serve as the impetus for my submitting a lengthy workplace grievance on 20 September 2013. However, the most immediately visible problem with the 24 July 201 Ambush Letter when I received it as part of my official NGSUK personnel file documentation is that the mentioned scheduled 11 September 2013 (my 9-11) meeting actually never happened! The same HR manager who hosted the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting of questionable propriety and intentionally withheld the requested meeting minutes from me, also prevented the submission of a grievance soon after the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting, and also cancelled and rescheduled the 11 September 2013 to 20 September 2013, as the 18 September 2013 e-mail indicates. The same HR Manager was now overseeing my SAR a year later. I did submit a 20 September 2013 formal grievance, but this document is not being processed within the body of my personnel file records. However, the 20 September 2013 formal grievance is mentioned and referenced within the 5 December 2013 settlement contract agreement (SCA), which when signed terminated my career with the Norwegian geo-services company (NGS). NGS’ HR departments subsequent processing of defamatory fake data is a sinister form of blacklisting. Both are not compliant nor legal acts, but were the coordinated endeavor of the corrupt and evil NGS legal compliance. The 11 September 2013 meeting that never happened is also referenced in another significant document being processed by NGS / NGSUK, but the date is not even mentioned within the SCA!
The new question was, how did the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter conform to NGSUK policy and procedures? Within the pages of the submitted 20 September 2013 formal grievance, I had made the case that the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter and 13 June 2013 Ambush Meetingdid not conform to NGSUK policy and procedure or UK contract and employment law. The 20 September 2013 formal grievance had focused on the propriety and the participants of the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting as well as countering the unsubstantiated claims made within the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter, since I never had received minutes from the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting. (This point was made within the 20 September 2013 formal grievance, as well.) I was also astonished to discover a version of minutes for the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting was also being processed within my official PGSUK personnel file. My truthful professional reputation was assassinated on 11 September 2013, an event that never happened to me in reality, but exists as the most significant date within my professional official work history with NGS. How is this possible? The 11 September 2013 date has consumed me. NGS / NGSUK processing fake data makes it clear to me that the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting. and 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter were not legal nor compliant to NGSUK policy and procedure or UK employment and contract law. For some time, I have believed, and collected evidence showing, that I was a victim of a conspiracy to defraud, on top of being a target of severe workplace gang-bullying (mobbing). I have been on a writing campaign for justice since discovering this. However, it is a very difficult endeavor to confront corrupt power and money, especially when so many “professionals” from different companies participated in the alleged crimes against me and my family. Overcoming the banality of corruption and incivility is difficult, especially when those entrusted with corporate governance are the principal perpetrators and facilitators of the crimes.
Make no mistake. Gaslighting is not about love or concern. It’s about power and control. A gaslighter is someone who needs to feel superior and who manipulates people to further their own agendas.
Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., 7 Ways to Extinguish Gaslighting
Trust yourself. Recognize what they are doing and stay calm. If you know your case, preserved your record, and know why you’re in court today, you are armed. You will correct the record as appropriate and return focus to the important issues for the court and your case. You have prepared and you know what you are doing.
Alyson A. Foster, Gaslighting in Litigation
The 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter was written on behalf of NGSUK and states that its creation was necessary since I had related that I wanted to pursue the matter officially. To me, this meant according to NGSUK policy, procedures, as well as employment (Tier 2 visa) law and contract law. The 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter did not address my simple queries. At the same time, I was helpless to steer events. It seems that there were two avenues which could have been pursued, based on the NGS UK Office Policy Handbook (NGSUK Handbook). These were to either follow the NGSUK Handbook grievance procedures or the disciplinary procedures. These would have been the anticipated official routes to be followed. As was pointed out in Part 1, when disciplinary and grievance matters are related, as was the case here, according to ACAS, the matters can be resolved together. The 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter also indicated that I would have the opportunity to respond with my case and supporting documentation. The 20 September 2013 formal grievance, which is not being processed within the body of my personnel file by NGS / NGSUK HR, was my response and contained substantive information countering the claims made during the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting and subsequent 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter. But, my truthful narrative is destroyed.
The 20 September 2013 formal grievance was never processed according to the NGSUK Handbook procedures. NGS / NGSUK had denied me my legal right to follow the grievance process. How was this permitted? With the assistance of my compromised counsel, Philip Landau of LZW Solicitos and Watson, Farley and Williams (WFW), representing NGSUK, I was gaslighted into negotiating an SCA predicated on performance. I challenge all NGS / NGSUK, LWZ Solicitors, and WFW legal and HR professionals involved in my SCA termination to show otherwise that the process was compliant and legal. I quite frankly could not figure out what was happening at the time and why all my queries seemed to fall on deaf ears. I never really believed that the process was being carried out correctly, but was being fed misrepresentations from all sides. (WFW had also recently processed my Tier 2 visa leave to remain.) I made countless queries during the negotiations that went unanswered because I had no legal representation. My hired solicitor, Landau, I allege, was complicit in the conspiracy to defraud. This is what I have reported to UK ActionFraud (police). I have also compiled the numerous e-mail communications that confirm that my solicitor was aware of the 11 September 2013 to 20 September 2013 meeting change. Landau knew that I was a USA citizen and had also received a copy of the 20 September 2013 formal grievance, a copy of the NGSUK Handbook, and NGS Core Values. As my legal counsel, these factual discrepancies should have been noted. However, what especially should have been noted was that my legal right to file a grievance was adhered to. It was not. Instead, false instruments were processed that supported a corrupt disciplinary process used to illegally terminate a whistleblower.
The NGSUK HR Manager was aware that the response to the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter (and 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting) would be in the form of a formal grievance prior to the 11 September 2013 scheduled meeting. Therefore, the NGSUK directors and secretary would have known this as well. What is also important to note is that there was a change of NGSUK secretary 13 September 2013. The new NGSUK secretary assumed the role of secretary andthe responsibility that the procedures had been and were being carried out legally and in accordance to the NGSUK Handbook and the laws of England. The NGSUK Handbook actually does cover issues regarding foreign workers with visas. The NGSUK Handbook also states NGSUK grievance and disciplinary procedures. Any official route should have implicitly followed NGS Core Values and the NGS Code of Conduct, which are referenced in the NGSUK Handbook. Nicholson continued to be the main driver of the process even though he was directly implicated in misconduct and bullying through hosting the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting. Neither NGSUK seretaries ever contacted me before or following the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter. Within the 20 September 2013 formal grievance it was my belief that my nationality and Tier 2 visa status had elevated the destructive behaviors to harassment of a protected class, or illegal harassment. My Tier 2 visa status was a very important consideration which seemed to be ignored.
Indeed, most of those surveyed for the report identified employer retaliation and not being taken seriously as the most common barriers to taking complaints to employers
Muneeza Sheikh, Workplace is wrong venue to address harassment
First, his silence may be taken as consent to whatever has been said to him, as an implied admission. This inference arises where a denial would be expected if the statement was false. Here silence operates rather like a nod; it is as if the party did not think it worth while lasting words in assenting to what he and the speaker know is obvious.
J. D. HEYDON, SILENCE AS EVIDENCE
Subsequent debates have argued the fine print over whether these individuals are actually psychopaths, or sociopaths, or have another mental disorder, called narcissistic personality disorder. But whatever the name of their conditions, they create chaos. They have no capacity to see or respect the perspective of others, are completely disrespectful, and many of them prop themselves up with a sadistic addiction to diminishing others.
Perpetrators actively, though often covertly, seek to harm others–physically, emotionally, and spiritually, using tactics designed to injure individuals and create physical and psychological power imbalances.
As the NGSUK Handbook header indicates, NGSUK HRM prepared the NGSUK Handbook and should be fluent in its contents. The 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting was hosted by NGSUK HRM, as well. The 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter was also signed by Nicholson, on behalf of NGSUK. In fact, all the documentation relevant to my termination is also signed by only the NGSUK HRM. Nothing is countersigned by the employee (me) or his supervisor. The exception is a Memo dated 25 October 2013, when Landau was engaged as my solicitor. NGSUK HRM did not sign this Memo, but neither did I. None of these documents are authenticated or substantiated by documentation and are therefore defamatory. I did not work directly for any of the directors, secretary, HR department, or division Executive Vice-President (EVP). The documents relate uncorroborated events, wrong dates, and non-existent documents. They are all forgeries. Further, no NGS / NGSUK, WFW, or LZW agent has ever challenged or commented on the allegations that the documents are forgeries in over three-years of protected public disclosure – whistleblowing. No definitive answer nor clarification has ever been provided as to the propriety of 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting or 24 July 2013 Ambush Meeting following multiple queries, including NGS Compliance. NGS, Landau, and WFW uttered false instruments to process my termination from employment with NGSUK.
This lack of transparency seems to violate categorically the principles of the NGS Core Values and NGS Code of Conduct. Said another way, NGSUK’s official handling of my workplace concerns seems to have been violating my contract of employment on multiple levels. NGSUK continued to obstruct my ability and right under UK employment law to complain! My queries were simple and reasonable. They could have been addressed easily. The NGSUK Handbook states that the grievance procedure can be used freely and without prejudice by employees. The NGSUK Handbook notes the importance of formal and informal lines of communication, especially between the employee and their immediate supervisor. The grievance procedure discusses provisions where the immediate supervisor is the focus of the grievance or if the employee is uncomfortable discussing the matter with their immediate supervisor. In this case, the grievance should be raised with the employee’s supervisor’s superior. As for any disciplinary actions, such matters must be fully investigated and focused on a fair resolution. The 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter stated management’s intention to investigate the possibility of implementing a performance improvement plan. But, what was the predicate for NGSUK’s directors and secretary intervention prior to any completed investigation or addressing the central concern as to the propriety of the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting?
These behaviors seem to model the behaviors of workplace harassment, mobbing, and bullying, inclusive of manipulative gaslighting, as described in literature. They seem to model non-compliant and criminal behaviors. NGSUK manipulated the processes to force a desired outcome. This included blocking all avenues of legal redress through adopting an official route that is not included within the NGSUK Handbook, or employment and contract law. An official route that involves fraud, forgery, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, and uttering forged instruments. Legally guaranteed processes were notpermitted and choices were limited to the employee so that management could achieve their “win” in this nefarious end game. This end game included co-opting a truthful professional narrative with a fabrication of events. This end game included the symbolic elimination of the American from their workforce on my 9-11. It was all psychological terrorism. It involved illegality, the denial of my human rights and rights under contract and employment law, which were all documented within the 20 September 2013 formal grievance. Most troubling is the witnessing of the death of professionalism and civility and the revelation of weak characters that found sadistic pleasure in abusing their power. Many, many NGS / NGSUK employees have been bribed with salaries and job security so they can continue to ignore NGS Core Values and Code of Conduct. NGS / NGSUK is led by misconduct and depravity. NGS’s dumbfounded Norwegian management and board should have thought twice before lodging their despicable terrorist attack on an American focused on justice. Truth is very strong. Poor management is weak and soon runs out of resources. Weak NGS management- management built upon the “sands” of deception – and board of directors attacked me and my family and now these “leaders” hide from their actions and accountability. Pathetic. Even more pathetic is the employee ranks who allow such depraved leadership to remain unaccountable to a Code of Practice or Responsibility Report and functional corporate governance.
In essence, the psyche constantly returned to scenes of unpleasure because, by restaging the traumatic moment over and over again, it hoped belatedly to process the unassimilable material, to find ways of mastering the trauma retroactively
Privilege, or immunity, is also a defense against a claim of defamation. Qualified privilege is usually used in cases where the person communicating the statement has a “legal, moral, or social duty to make it….” The person making the statement must show that he or she has made the statement in good faith, believing it to be true and that the statement was made without malice. One example of qualified privilege is the immunity of members of the press from defamation charges for statements made in the press in good faith unless it can be proven that they were made with malice.
The motive behind criticism often determines its validity. Those who care criticize where necessary. Those who envy criticize the moment they think that they have found a weak spot.
Criss Jami, Killosophy
The objective of marine seismic surveys is not to annoy, harm or kill cetaceans or other marine fauna. I believe that this is an important consideration. This was not always the relationship between human energy needs and cetaceans. Cetaceans, or whales, are divided into two main groups: toothed whales and baleen whales. From the 16th through the 19th century, whales were principally killed for a source of oil used as fuel in lamps. Although the relative value of various whale products varied across time and place, whale oil was the principal economic driver of the commercial whaling industry. The efficient killing and processing of whales was the business objective of the commercial whaling industry. Technological developments in whaling, such as ship speed, determined which cetaceans could be hunted commercially. There was a precipitous decline in the use of whale oils from its peak in the 19th century into the 20th century that coincides with the commercial development of the petroleum industry as a source of fuel oil and manufacturing products. Perhaps the petroleum industry saved the lives of thousands of cetaceans and prevented the extinction of several species? What is known is that as the source of the commodity of whale oil began to deplete, technologies to improve hunting success, as well as incentives to replace the fuel both grew.
The objective of marine seismic surveys is to create maps of the geology to guide oil and gas drilling operations. Seismic reflection data is used to produce these maps. The seismic reflection method requires introducing a controlled seismic energy source into the Earth. Each layer within the Earth reflects a portion of the wave’s energy back and allows the rest to refract through. In the marine environment, the these reflected compressional energy waves, or sound waves, are recorded by receivers. The points being mapped are the midpoints between the source and receiver sensor(s). In the 1950s, marine seismic research crews would toss boxes of live dynamite off the stern of the vessel. The dynamite would explode about a hundred meters behind the ship. This was the seismic source. One of the crew, Stephen Chelminski, recognized how dangerous this practice was and so endeavored to find a better and safer marine seismic source. Lives were being lost and property destroyed using the dynamite source tossed from the vessel stern. Chelminski earned the coveted Kauffman Gold Medal Award in 1975 in recognition for his development of marine seismic airgun technology. The most common energy source used for marine seismic surveys these days are arrays of specially placed and timed airguns. However, in recent years, marine seismic airguns have become especially controversial due to their perceived impact on the health and well-being of cetaceans.
Whaling was banned in many countries in 1969 because some species of cetacean were near extinction. Globally, the commercial whaling industry was essentially ended in the late 1980s. In 1982 the International Whaling Commission (IWC) placed a moratorium on commercial whaling. The purpose of the IWC is the conservation and safeguarding of cetaceans and other marine mammals to allow the recovery of pre-industrial whaling levels. However, countries such as Norway, Iceland, and Japan oppose the IWC moratorium and support commercial whaling. Aboriginal whaling is allowed to continue on a subsistence basis but not as a commercial activity. There has been a paradigm shift from whales being regarded as a commercial commodity to becoming a spectacle. Over the past few decades, whale watching has become a significant industry in its own. In some countries whale watching has replaced whaling, while in others the two industries coexist. The marine seismic airgun opponents view cetaceans as spectacles that need to be protected and preserved. Whalers see cetaceans as a commodity. The cultural battle grounds are in place around the world, from the protesting of marine seismic surveys offshore the east coast of the United States to The Great Australian Bight in Australia. Airguns are currently the best energy source to use to accomplish survey objectives. At the same time, the marine seismic survey commercial industry is relatively new and much is still unknown about its long-term impact on cetaceans and other marine animals. Marine seismic surveyors endeavor to take measures and develop technologies to minimize the impact of their methods and equipment, such as airguns, on cetaceans, and other marine animals to satisfy customer requirements, but whose principal objective concern is analyzing and processing seismic, and other geophysical data, to produce useful maps that will reduce drilling risks.
The [oil and gas] industry is slow to change, But certainly, I’ll be happy when it happens.
Stephen Chelminski, Geophysicist who DEveloped AIRGUN TECHNOLOGY and is currently working on marine vibrator technology
For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.
As a young man, I took a trip to Seattle, Washington, USA. In some bookshop I saw a pin that read, “Save the whales, what did the cows do wrong?” I have been on many whale watching trips and enjoyed rare occasions of seeing cetaceans from the seismic vessels that I worked on. I was raised and lived my younger adult life in the western US. From this vantage point, void of any tangible socio-economic or cultural ties to whaling, whales were simply magnificent marine life visible without having to dawn scuba gear. Cattle, on the other hand, defines the American west. Cinema and television have glorified the rancher cowboy and cattle driver. Cattle may roam the land of the American west, but they do so as property with “brands.” Cattle are bred for beef, and another bred for dairy. Beef and Dairy are traded commodities, and their population controlled through market demand. In the US west, much of the Federal government land is leased to ranchers to graze their cattle. Ranching and dairy production are commercial industries. Cattle were not native to North America. Prior to the (predominantly) European colonial conquest and expansion into western North America, bison – or buffalo – grazed the plains and grasslands. These nomadic Native North American peoples subsisted on bison. However, the commercial hunting of bison took the 60 million precolonial bison population to under 1000 in the late 19th century. Private reserves and US Federal intervention prevented the extinction of the bison. Bison population is only a small percentage of precolonial numbers. Domestic cattle have taken over the rangeland.
Parties to the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling
(ICRW) disagree about the necessity for continuing the moratorium on the
commercial hunting of whales. In fact,
some believe that commercial whaling can be good for managing cetacean
populations. Whalers recognized that
over-whaling has a negative impact on profits.
So, economic self-interest ultimately led whalers to take action to
conserve the resource upon which they depended.
However, the United States, Great Britain, Australia and other nations supported
the moratorium on whaling, not because the need to allow for more time for cetacean
population recovery and management, but because certain nations believe whales have a right to life. And with any moratorium on seismic airgun
testing, cetaceans have the right to a pleasant life. This position is no longer a strictly
environmental viewpoint, it is an ethical
viewpoint. The same young man who
visited the bookshop in Seattle, also was an avid hiker and backpacker who
lived in New Mexico and loved The Land of
Enchantment. In fact, I was a member
of the environmental group, The Sierra
Club. The Sierra Club is known for
encouraging an appreciation for nature and the environment through sponsoring
and leading hikes through such areas. In
fact, I led some hikes as a member of the local chapter of the club. Because cattle can be grazed on Federal
government land, which is also land which could be used for hiking, hikers
would often encounter cattle and or their excrement along the trails.
As a hiker, I didn’t like to encounter domesticated excrement. At
the same time, I was not bothered at all to spot a deer or bighorn sheep or
come across their scat. At some point, I made a decision to become a
vegetarian. My reasoning was that if I
did not want to encounter cattle poop, I could not support the industry that
used the same land I enjoyed for hiking to make hamburgers an affordable food
choice. I want to add that I also ran
into hunters on these trails during certain times of the year. I always felt that hunters had a better
appreciation for the environment than many environmentalists did. Food chains need predators, and many had been
killed by ranchers or other livestock owners who had a commercial interest in
protecting their cattle population.
Hunters at least understand that meat doesn’t just pop-up cellophane
wrapped. It was a living creature
once. And here is my ethical dilemma
with saving the whales: whales at least are
free range. Fish populations, such as
northeast North America cod, have also been overfished. Wild fish stocks have been depleted through
overfishing globally and have been replaced with fish farms. Cattle are grazed and then sent to feedlots
to be fattened-up prior to slaughter.
Chicken and pigs are factory farmed.
The short lives of these creatures prior to slaughter is cruel and deplorable. But, out of sight, out of mind. The point is, eating KFC is likely a less ethical food choice than eating whale, if you
examine the quality of life of the creature prior its being killed. What can’t be lost is that chicken tends to
also be some of the cheapest meat to buy.
We know, at least, that this decision (ending factory farming) will help prevent deforestation, curb global warming, reduce pollution, save oil reserves, lessen the burden on rural America, decrease human rights abuses, improve public health, and help eliminate the most systematic animal abuse in history..
Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals
Humans regard animals as worthy of protection only when they are on the verge of extinction.,
Paul Craig Roberts
Modern human lifestyle consumes vast amounts of energy. Coal fueled the industrial revolution in the
18th and 19th century and powered the steam engine. Steam engines had more to do with the demise
and near extinction of both cetaceans and bison. Faster whaling ships, coupled with both
onshore and offshore processing of carcasses, made killing whales too easy – to
the point that some species neared extinction.
Oil became the dominant fuel in the 20th century and remains
so today. Offshore crude oil accounts
for around 30% of the global demand for oil.
According to Wikipedia, raising animals for human consumption accounts
for approximately 40% of the total amount of agricultural output in
industrialized countries. Grazing occupies 26% of the earth’s ice-free
terrestrial surface, and feed crop production uses about one third of all
arable land. The human footprint has expanded and destroyed
many natural habitats and taken a number of creatures to, or near the brink of,
extinction, not only cetaceans. The real
question that needs to be addressed is what lifestyle choices of convenience are
we really willing to give-up? The
majority of humans enjoy having electricity to keep all of our appliances going. This includes our cell phones and laptop
computers, as well as our refrigerators to keep food cold. It includes our food choices. Many humans enjoy the convenience of
automobiles and airplane travel. Saving
the whales – or prioritizing their collective welfare – does not really make one
an environmentalist. There is a litany
of lifestyle choices that contribute to our energy consumption that impacts the
planet. You cannot really be for saving the whales if you enjoy eating
hamburgers bought at a drive-through window.
If there were no customers for offshore oil, there would be no marine
seismic – or other geophysical – exploration.
There would be no need for airguns.
So, yes, let’s improve how energy is consumed. Let’s explore and develop renewable energy
resources where we can. And let’s
continue to improve the sources used in the marine seismic experiment. Let’s try to minimize the impact that exploring
for resources offshore makes. Let’s improve
our monitoring of cetaceans and make sure that airguns are not used when
cetaceans are nearby. Let’s continue to
develop marine seismic vibrator’s as sources.
Marine seismic airguns have not really been used so long. The real impact on the different species of
cetaceans is not fully understood. Nevertheless,
concerns must be listened to and addressed.
Those in the marine seismic industry, or offshore oil and gas industry,
are not focused on destroying the environment or in harming cetaceans. That’s not the objective. The objective is to make better maps so that
drilling is safer and less risky. Protesting
over activities that you do not agree with is important for citizens. But, protesting offshore activity is only meaningful
when it is accompanied by a supporting lifestyle choice. Protesting airguns will only make a
difference if your personal lifestyle choices do not include the necessity for
offshore oil. And when this is true,
marine airgun exploration will be unnecessary.
Man’s law changes with his understanding of man. Only the laws of the spirit remain always the same..
Native American Crow Tribe Saying
Forests and meat animals compete for the same land. The prodigious appetite of the affluent nations for meat means that agribusiness can pay more than those who want to preserve or restore the forest. We are, quite literally, gambling with the future of our planet – for the sake of hamburgers,
Submitting Grievances and Whistleblowing as a Foreign Worker – Part One
By administrative-injustice-legal-blame’ model I mean ‘investigations’ focusing on finding ‘unreasonable’ actions influenced by the negligence Bolam definition of failing and which results in un-remediated ‘injustice’. This whole model is inherited from negligence claims and is very different and often totally contrary to the goal of finding out why harm was caused and how to prevent it.
It is worth mentioning that compromise agreements, at whatever level, are used widely in the NHS, the private sector and other parts of the public sector. That does not necessarily mean that someone has been stopped from speaking about patient safety, and to connect the two all the time is erroneous and wrong.
Question: Can a UK employer legally simultaneously apply to continue sponsoring a foreign worker on a Tier 2 SOL Visa (15 July 2013) as well as initiate disciplinary actions based onpoor performance (13 June 2013)?
As a US citizen, I was sponsored for employment by a company in England whose parent company is based in Norway. The initial three-year sponsorship was ending, and I was applying for a leave to remain – or to renew my and my dependent family member visas. The company in England was in the process of renewing their sponsorship of my Tier 2 visa. The application process based on Shortage Occupation List (SOL) was not trivial nor inexpensive and required the intentional and directed involvement of company agents. The company had even engaged a legal firm specializing in Tier 2 visa sponsorship to review the documentation submitted to the UK Border Agency to facilitate a successful application process so that I could legally work in the UK. The process additionally included processing applications for my dependent wife and school aged children. Of course, as one can imagine, as a foreign worker especially, the visa application renewal process was a principal concern and interest of mine.
Unfortunately, there had been issues in the workplace for several months. These issues came to a head about a month before (13 June 2013) my leave to remain application processing and continued Tier 2 sponsorship had been approved. I had been invited to a distressing meeting on very short notice by the human resources (HR) manager, my first line supervisor, and his boss. Following this watershed event in my working life, I sent an e-mail and requested an explanation as to what had just happened from the HR Manager? I was denied all of my requests made within my e-mail to the HR Manager. Many troubling assertions were made during this meeting, and I wanted to address them head-on. Most notable of my requests was whether the meeting was compliant to the company’s policy and procedures. Given the tone and topic of the meeting, it seemed unconscionable to me that minutes were being withheld. I knew at this point that something wrong was happening to me, but I was powerless because my legal right of redress was being perverted and obstructed. I was near positive that policy and procedures and my rights under contract of employment were being breached.
What if the meeting was not compliant to the company’s policy and procedures? What was the legality of being denied constructive, correct and thorough answers to workplace questions in a timely and professional manner? Would I have been submitting a workplace grievance or blowing the whistle? At the time, I had no idea what was happening to me. I have a better idea now, years too late, through reading about topics of workplace bullying, harassment and abuse. What I had just experienced is referred to in bullying literature as an ambush meeting, a tactic often (always!) used by workplace bullies against their targets. The HR manager was intentionally obfuscating the event which he likely knew very well was neither compliant nor legal under law and employment contract. The HR manager was now misdirecting the event to become a disciplinary action rather than a grievance. But, I was a foreign worker being sponsored under Tier 2 SOL visa provisions. The employer had made legal claims regarding my competence and abilities to the UK Border Agency that allowed me to work in the UK and displace a local worker. Simply, it did not make sense that a “poor performer” could be legally employed on a Tier 2 visa. Could they? BUT, poor performance is a legitimate reason to terminate an normalresident employee in the UK. This is what the HR manager knew very well!
There are things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.
In my work with the defendants, I was searching for the nature of evil and I now think I have come close to defining it. A lack of empathy. It’s the one characteristic that connects all the defendants, a genuine incapacity to feel with their fellow men.
Captain G. M. Gilbert, the Army psychologist , Nuremberg trails (1945-1949)
Can a UK employer legally simultaneously apply to continue sponsoring a foreign worker on a Tier 2 SOL Visa (15 July 2013) as well as initiate disciplinary actions based on poor performance (13 June 2013)? I had never been provided with information by the HR manager or company directors which definitively addressed these important issues constructively. I never received confirmation that company policy and procedures, as well as UK labor standards were being followed. Mind you, the bullies through HR were essentially threatening my professional reputation and livelihood during the meeting. Yet, in spite of the seriousness of the matter, I was being intentionally denied information and documentation to act on. I saw this all as unfair, unreasonable, and unprofessional. I still do. The company had challenged me to a duel, but was not allowing me to defend myself. It clearly was a violation of the company’s published Core Values and Code of Conduct. Further to this, I was a foreigner in a foreign land being treated this way, which made it all even more distressing.
These presented e-mails showed that there was a conspiracy to withhold actionable information from an employee. (This information was discovered through a Data Protection Act 1998 subject access request.) The employee had essentially been forced to leave their employment because of misrepresentations (lies) and withholding of actionable information, such as the ambush meeting minutes. Isn’t this fraud? In lieu of the minutes to the 13 June 2013 ambush meeting, a letter was written that captured many of the (unsubstantiated) claims which were made during the meeting. What was not immediately apparent at the time was that the letter had transcended the ambush meeting participants. The letter was written and signed by the manager of HR on behalf of the UK company. The UK company was directed by Norwegian parent company executives, including the CEO/President and the CFO/EVP (executive vice-president). A lawyer who worked for the UK company served as secretary. So, this lawyer essentially wrote the letter signed by the HR Manager (24 July 2013). Therefore, if there was a breach in policy, procedure, or employment and contract law, it was not only understood and approved by these company directors and secretary, but was part of a nefarious (criminal?) conspiracy. In other words, any non-compliance or breach in policy or law would have been carried out intentionally and with comprehension of any legal violations or ramifications. This would include any duplicitous information provided to UK Border Agency to affect the Tier 2 SOL visa.
As a foreign worker, the mistreatment was very distressing. At the time, I was unfamiliar with the concept of workplace bullying, mobbing, and the tactic of the ambush meeting. At the same time, I had been an employee most of my life and had a conceptual understanding of fair and legal employment practices. Prior to my work in the marine seismic survey industry, I had been employed with various entities under or contracted by the US Department of Defense (DoD). During that time I had completed management training which covered US employment laws and best practices. Work attached to the US Federal government is especially sensitive to issues that would place the US government, as an employer or contractor, in legal jeopardy. I also understood the importance of proper and justified documentation. Even though US employment is known to be at will, it did not mean that employee rights could completely be trampled on. However, in the UK my employment was bound by an employment contract which is supposed to provide more worker protections and avenues of redress. I can honestly say that I did not completely understand the performance improvement plan, except that I reasoned that it could not be put into effect unless it was backed thoroughly by documented evidence. I was confident that no such evidence or justification existed. I had never experienced HR being so involved in the evaluation of my work performance. I did not even work with the HR department and the HR Manager had no direct knowledge of my work. I remained committed to follow through on my initial instinct and challenge and respond to the propriety and merits of the Investigation into possible implementation of a performance improvement plan (PIP) with a grievance.
At this point, it’s really important that you don’t get caught up in shaming or blaming. Just answer the question and give your spouse or partner room to do to the same. You are simply noticing what aligns with your values and what doesn’t.
Your relationship with your line manager may give a clue as to the real reason for the PIP. The importance of workplace relationships should not be underestimated; it is frequently the case that contention in the workplace is down to a personality clash. Many individuals who are put on a PIP can cite an underlying motive which has nothing to do with the standard of their work and more a breakdown of personalities.
When a person trusts that a system designed to defend, respond, protect, or seek justice will do its job after an interpersonal trauma, and when that system either chooses not to respond (omission) or worse, chooses to lay blame at the feet of the victim (commission), institutional betrayal occurs.
According to research by psychologist Jennifer Freyd, PhD, when wrong-doers are confronted with their acts (which may be criminal), they show a pattern that can be abbreviated as DARVO, which stands for Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. Victims of wrong-doers have a need for the truth to be revealed and for justice. But, the proclivity of the toxic and narcissistic organization is to suppress such truth, protect the wrong-doers and evade responsibility by denying the truth and attacking the victim. Therefore, rather than a victim making specific public allegations that will invoke such focused attacks and reprisals, it is perhaps safer and more productive to illuminate patterns of behavior, grounded in research, that will enlighten and protect potential future victims of institutional betrayal, while giving credence to current victims’ narratives. In institutional betrayal, power and prestige within the institution is preserved through protecting the wrong-doer over the victim. Victims place their trust in institutions based on expectations that the institution is worthy of their trust. Stakeholders in the institution trust that the published institution core values, policy, and procedures are in place to protect their own, as well as other institutional stakeholder’s, vested interests. After all, the main objective of publishing such information within business proposals and annual reports is to inculcate such feelings of trust in the values of the institution and its leadership. When institutions do not respond in accordance to their espoused values, they betray this trust and in such cases, this betrayal of trust can be more traumatizing to the victims than the initial perpetrated wrong-doing, according to Betrayal Trauma Theory (BTT).
Mobbing is the nonsexual harassment of a coworker by a group of other workers or members of an organization of the one who is targeted. The term psychological terrorism is also used to describe workplace mobbing. Mobbing is not a conflict over facts and reasons. Mobbing is a form of genocide where the objective is to eliminate the target that poses a threat to the power structure, influence, and reputation of the institution, and more precisely, its leadership. Workplace mobbing tactics often are used against whistleblowers – workers who report concerns about illegal or unethical behavior in the workplace. Mobbing requires the support of top management. Mobbing cannot be sustained without the permission and/or direction from top-management. The damage done to a person through workplace mobbing is an injury, not an illness. Fundamentally, it is a workplace health and safety issue. Therefore, there is always an effort by top-management to skirt responsibility and accountability for their intentional or negligent injurious actions. The objective is to make the workplace so miserable for the target that they will leave voluntarily without a fight. Workplace mobbing and bullying results in a number of health injuries and consequences for both the target, as well as his/her family. The fabric of relationships within the organization is damaged and the victim of mobbing has suffered an injury that can be life threatening. Victims of mobbing are documented to become ill and die prematurely or commit suicide. Mobbing is violent health-harming abuse perpetrated through the abuse of authoritative power and a profound breach of trust.
Gaslighting is an insidiously cruel form of sociopathic narcissistic psychological manipulation and abuse often practiced to gain power and control over a target. The objective of the gaslighting is to cause the target to lose their sense of identity and perception of what’s really happening around them. The term originates from the 1938 stage play, Gaslight. In the play, a husband dims the gas lights while he searches for jewels that he believes were hidden in the attic by his wife’s aunt, who was murdered in the apartment which his wife inherited. The wife notices the dimming gas light, as well as other strange goings-on. The husband tries to persuade her that she is imagining the light change, and other things. The objective is to replace the truth with a lie. The term gaslighting is now used colloquially to describe efforts to manipulate someone’s perception of reality. Gaslighter’s will use persistent lying, denial, misdirection and contradiction to destabilize the victim’s beliefs and make them doubt their perceptions of events. In the workplace, for instance, an individual who reports or discloses being harassed and bullied, or other workplace behaviors that may contradict their understanding of policy, or even the law, may become targets of gaslighting. Gaslighter’s may try to make the victim believe that no wrong-doing has occurred and that they are just coping badly with “work performance” or other unrelated issues. Gaslighting and workplace mobbing, or gang-bullying, can be applied together in a collective effort to force the target out of their job in retaliation for disclosing and revealing such wrong doing. Mobbing and gaslighting are tactics used to force whistleblowers out of the workplace.
DARVO also exists on an organizational level. When a company or organization is complicit with the accused who employs the same strategy, it’s “institutional DARVO,” and what Freyd calls a form of betrayal.
What is the difference between lying and fraud? At what point does telling lies go from being a poor decision to a violation of the law? Fraud is an intentional false representation intended to mislead the receiver to their detriment. Courts will often look at what the liar(s) gain if the lie is believed and what harm is caused to the person who relied on truthful information. If the victim believed the lie and acted as if it were true and suffered some sort of injury because of the betrayal in trust, there could be liability for fraud. Denying or ignoring the truthful narrative of a victim is a lie and a betrayal, and a particularly pernicious form of denial is DARVO. Organizations, like people, have an incentive to protect their ideal image. Organizations have attributes and personalities formed by the decisions and actions of directors and top-management. It is these decisions and actions which form the institution or corporate character. This is not to be confused with the published corporate values, mission statements, and annual reports, which are created to form an ideal perception of the corporate character. Narcissism describes a self-absorbed person. Narcissists are prone to frequent lies and exaggerations and enjoy getting away with violating rules and social norms. Narcissists project a false idealized image of themselves and use or control others as an extension of themselves. The narcissistic organization becomes similarly self-absorbed in protecting an ideal identity above dealing with contrasting reality. When agents of organizations gang-bully and gaslight targets in the workplace, it above all involves a conspiratorial myriad of intentional false representations intended to mislead and change the targets perception of true events to their detriment.
Participants in the atrocities and genocide carried out by Nazi Germany justified their actions on following the orders of superiors, or obedience to authority. Could it be that the millions of accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? In 1961, US Yale University psychologist, Stanley Milgram, began his famous experiments into analyzing obedience to authority. The Milgram Experiment wanted to determine if ordinary people are likely to follow orders given by an authority figure, even to the extent of killing an innocent human being. Obedience to authority is ingrained in us all from the way we are brought up. People tend to obey orders from other people if they recognize their authority as morally right and/or legally based. This response to legitimate authority is learned in a variety of situations, for example in the family, school, and workplace. The experiment concluded that ordinary people are likely to follow orders given by an authority figure, even to the extent of killing an innocent human being. Ordinary kind and humane people can easily become sadistic under certain conditions. When someone in a position of leadership makes it clear that certain individuals are undesirable, these targets may be mistreated, shunned, and even falsely accused of misconduct and crimes. If people believe that they will not be held accountable for their actions, and the more they see others acting aggressively without sanction, the more likely they will behave aggressively. However, if people were reminded that they had responsibility for their own actions, almost none of them were prepared to obey.
It is important to remember that the heinous genocide and elimination of those deemed socially undesirable during of the Holocaust was not only legal, but also a principal objective of the authoritative Nazi regime in power. There was, and would have been, reprisal and punishment to those citizens who thwarted those objectives. Nevertheless, many charged in carrying out these objectives were punished, and even executed, following the Allied trials that followed the conclusion of the Allied victory of World War 2. In the Milgram experiment, teacher subjects were allowed to dispense punishment to “learners” under the direction and authority of the Yale University researcher. Yale University’s reputation provided additional allegiance and obedience to follow these instructions. Further, the teachers were not enfranchised in the Yale University organization. They were not fellow researchers with an understanding of the experiment or knowledge of human psychology. Mobbing and gaslighting behavior may be authorized by leaders – those holding authoritative decision-making power – of organizations, but those who follow the sole instruction of authority are also agents who have pronounced their commitment to uphold laws, organization policy, and organization values.
We should never forget that everything Adolph Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Retaliation against whistleblowers is common and severe and includes negative job performance evaluations, micromanagement, isolation, loss of job, and blacklisting.
Gang-bullies and gaslighter’s breach all of these commitments and provide their allegiance to corrupt wrong-doers with authoritative power. Categorically, this not “professional” behavior. Beyond this, the law and organization policy most certainly advocate the intervention by professionals to not follow lawless, arbitrary and capricious authority that can seriously endanger the health and well-being of a coworker. For any policy not to state this would be malpractice. (This was not the case in Nazi Germany.) Joining the mob and protecting corrupt leadership may enable employees to secure benefit and promotions for helping management eliminate a “difficult” employee – the whistleblower – or the target of discriminatory or abusive treatment. Isn’t this bribery for the purpose of perverting the course of justice? Anyone who threatens the narcissistic delusion of the organization has put themselves in jeopardy. In a safe and functional organization, disclosures are handled according to both the law and policy. Whistleblowing tends to refer to disclosures which are not handled appropriately and result in acts of retaliation and reprisal against those who make protected disclosures. So, why is providing protected disclosure – or whistleblowing – about organization wrong-doing so dangerous and damaging for professionals who do so, when just the opposite should be true?
When what should happen is quite the opposite to what the employee who discloses wrong-doing is experiencing, cognitive dissonance is created. There is a betrayal of trust which undermines one’s sense of reality and confidence. Most whistleblowers disclose with the belief that the organization leadership will be just as troubled by the reported behavior as they are. The whistleblower has been promised by the organization that disclosures will be handled fairly and effectively. It is a legal and fiduciary promise made by leadership. When the whistleblower begins to see the published proclamations as false assurances and is at the receiving end of unabashed reprisals, this distresses the whistleblower immensely. Many whistleblowers experience long-term Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). Disclosing organization wrong-doing often implicates higher level executives, directly or indirectly. DARVO occurs when the perpetrator, which could be an organization, literally accuses the victim of doing something specific that they did. For instance, if you accuse perpetrators of defamation for evaluating your performance arbitrarily and not in accordance to the organization performance management system, as is common for workplace bullies and the mob, the perpetrator will deny the bullying and claim your accusations are defamatory. The organization will protect the improperly empowered wrong-doers. There will be no fair investigation or resolution, in contradiction to the written policy. The victim of harassment/bullying by the mob will likely be terminated and blacklisted, all the while the narcissistic organization will preserve the myth of being guided by high values and fairness. This is an orchestrated deception.
Betrayal is very threatening to our survival as humans. When former colleagues and professionals assist in the elimination of the betrayed target, it comes as a shock. It is very painful and confusing to the target who cannot understand what’s going on? The betrayed target is likely to be enraged at the trusted institution and fellow employees who have breached their trust and demonstrated cowardice and lack of moral fortitude. Once former colleagues align themselves with the immoral mob, there can be no redemption. An initial moment of guilt may occur with the initial small betrayal. This is followed by anger at the target because being angry with the corrupted power structure and calling them out is too risky. The anger is fueled by fear and guilt that they have become accomplices in evil and compromised their own principles by betraying the target. Following the initial betrayal, the subsequent lies and betrayals increase in intensity. The problem is that eventually the betrayals will be discovered. The mob must create justifications for their decisions that support the false narrative of events aligned with the corrupt power structure that oversaw the gaslighting and manipulation in the workplace which was orchestrated to eliminate the target. The mob would like to frame the targets reaction as unhinged, when it is entirely normal for a betrayed person or victim to act as a betrayed person or victim. The participants within the mob must collectively maintain the mythological institution identity or face internal or external legal reprisals and accountability. They do this knowingly to protect a hypocritical and corrupted power structure and false institution identity at the expense of the victim.
Every life is a test but, in the workplace, few are tested more than whistleblowers. The act of whistleblowing is a comprehensive test of the whistleblower’s values, loyalties, and above all their self-worth. The whistleblower who survives, survives these tests.
Mistreatment of workers in the workplace has
always existed. At the same time, more
recently a growing attention has been given to issues such as workplace
harassment, bullying, and mobbing. In
1976, Carroll M. Brodsky, a psychologist and anthropologist, opened the
discussion of workplace abuse with his book The Harassed Worker
looking at the outcomes and accidents from worker stress and exhaustion. In the mid-1980s research by psychologist and
pedagogist Heinz Leymann began further investigating workplace stress and
introduced our modern concept of workplace bullying and mobbing. Workplace bullying and mobbing are identified
as principal workplace health and safety hazards. Workplace environments where mobbing and bullying
occur have been antecedent to both the Piper Alpha (1988) and the Deepwater
Horizon (2010) offshore oil rig disasters.
The Piper Alpha disaster cost the lives of 167 offshore workers and was
the deadliest offshore disaster. The
Deepwater Horizon is the largest offshore environmental disaster and it also
cost the lives of eleven (11) offshore workers.
Workplaces environments where there are feelings of economic uncertainty
from downsizing and restructuring leave fewer people to do more work and
also make the competition for positions intense seem to fuel harassment,
bullying and mobbing cultures. While the
cyclic oil and gas industry that employs geo-services professionals is not
unique in terms of harvesting workplace conditions conducive to workplace
harassment, bullying and mobbing, but is especially susceptible during down
cycles which exacerbate uncertainty.
Much of the research work by
Freyd focuses on sexual offenders and identifies a form of institutional betrayal, which is a negative reaction when an assault is
reported. This negative response by the
organization adds additional trauma to the victim beyond the interpersonal
violation. The comment that is often heard,
“The rape was bad, but what was even worse was how I was treated after the rape
DARVO occurs when DARVO is committed by an institution (or with institutional
complicity). Institutional DARVO is when
an institution minimizes – sometimes to the point of ignoring – the harms done
to the victim(s) and frames the alleged perpetrations in such a way to blame
the victim and protect the perpetrators.
An example of institutional DARVO would include to institutional leaders
responding to disclosures by gaslighting victims into thinking they do not have
a sufficient understanding of policy and practice and that there was no
non-compliant or illegal behavior. In
the case of bullying and mobbing, the ruse of “poor performance” is often used
as a justification for mistreatment.
Institutions may also obstruct the victims redress through outright
lying about policy and legal obligations of the institution. Institution betrayal really boils down to
leadership corrupting the processes of redress in order to avoid culpability. The institution does not follow their own
rules and decisions are made with arbitrary caprice.
Milgram demonstrated the power of authority over the minds and wills of ordinary people. Milgram’s experiment was conducted following the trial of Otto Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Eichmann was executed in 1962. The trial was followed closely by the media and was the inspiration for several books. One of the more famous books was written by Hannah Arendt. Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem coined the phrase “the banality of evil” to describe Eichmann. Banal evil is characterized by a belief that what one is doing is not evil, rather, what they are engaging in is a behavior that is, or has been, normalized by the society in which they reside. The horrors of the Holocaust, to which Eichmann assisted through overseeing the deportation of many of the Jewish population to the Auschwitz concentration camp, resulted in the murder of about 75 percent upon arrival. Eichmann was loyally following the laws and carrying out the evil objectives of the Nazi regime. Institutional betrayal and acts of psychological violence in the workplace, such as harassment, mobbing and bullying is different. Those who follow the evil dictates of authority are usually acting against the policy and laws. Such “professionals” are actively and willingly complicit in the destruction of the victim’s professional life and reputation, as well as the family and loved one’s who depend on their betrayed victims. These acts are evil. Such behavior is only normalized through the indifference of legal authorities to pursue such evil institution leadership and mob participants. Scientific research has determined proclivities and patterns followed by abusers and criminals. Now, institutional governance bodies and law enforcement must actively embrace the research and the body of knowledge it provides to aid victims. For institutional governance and law enforcement not to do so is a further betrayal to victims and a miscarriage of justice. Being a victim or doing the right thing should not be dangerous.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.
Consecrated persons, chosen by God to guide souls to salvation, let themselves be dominated by their human frailty or sickness and thus become tools of Satan.
… we argue that organizations can adopt
collective narcissistic identities that will produce wrong (i.e., non-virtuous)
behavior. This happens because the organization’s narcissistic
identity—including the corresponding motive to protect its identity—is more
powerful than a motive to behave morally
organizations want to appear ethical because appearing ethical feeds their narcissism,
and so the costs of creating formal ethics programs are small compared to the
ego-defense benefits. But such programs are instrumental for the narcissistic
identity, not ethical conduct, and therefore will not much affect the
behavioral status quo. ~ Organizational Narcissism and Virtuous Behavior
Bribery is the act of giving or receiving something of value in exchange for some kind of influence or action in return, that the recipient would otherwise not offer. Bribery is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legalduty. Essentially, bribery is offering to do something for someone for the expressed purpose of receiving something in exchange. – Wikipedia
is unethical for a lawyer to threaten to present criminal,
administrative or disciplinary charges to obtain advantage in a
civil dispute. Blackmail consists
of threats made to gain anything of value from the other person, such as money,
property or sexual favors. Extortion constitutes
a threat to accuse someone of a crime, or to expose or impute to him/her
any significant misconduct, accompanied by a demand for payment “or else.”
History is so important. It has been said that the three most important words in the English language are “remember, remember, remember.”
Chances multiply when you take them.
Since May 2015, MarineSeismicSurvey (MSS) blog articles have
mostly focused on the marine seismic streamer market as a gauge of the health
and trend of offshore geophysical exploration.
However, marine seismic streamer activity can no longer be considered
singularly in such analysis. The growing
ocean bottom seismic (OBS) market, being forged by ocean bottom node (OBN)
technologies, must be taken into account moving forward. The percentage
share of OBS in the marine seismic survey market has been increasing over the
past decade, and some analysts are predicting that OBS will command a 30%
marine seismic survey market share by 2020 with its continued rise. This is remarkable for several reasons. The plunge in oil prices in mid-2014
significantly impacted marine geophysical exploration. However, marine geophysical exploration has
historically been a boom or bust business defined through a litany of
bankruptcies, mergers, and acquisitions.
Oil prices have always been cyclic.
Therefore, the trend and buoyancy of the marine geophysical exploration
survey industry remains a good indicator for the overall trends and health of
the offshore oil and gas industry.
Marine seismic surveys, in
simple terms, map the subsurface points between a source and receiver(s). For some time, the most time-efficient and
cost-effective way to map these points is through narrow azimuth (NAZ) streamer
acquisition. Standard NAZ marine seismic
acquisition is where source(s) and streamers are towed together behind a single
vessel. It is principally the cost of
the seismic vessel and seismic in-sea equipment that determines the price of a
survey. Surveys are priced on a day
rate, square kilometer rate, or the number of these “mid-points”, or common
depth points (CDPs) mapped. Because each
source, almost always an air gun blast or “shot”, maps to the number of
receiver sensors located on the streamer cables, there has been an incentive to
tow as many streamers as possible to reduce time and costs of marine seismic surveys. To facilitate this, newer marine seismic
streamer vessels have steadily become larger and more powerful. They are also more expensive to equip and operate. OBS acquisition has been slower and more
expensive method. However, OBS is seen
to provide better data quality. There have
been notable technology innovations introduced into the marine seismic streamer
market during the past decade to improve data quality. Similarly, more powerful computing power has
improved final data quality and imaging of marine seismic streamer acquisition.
The marine seismic streamer market has always been
tenuous and competitive. In late 2013,
CGG acquired Fugro GeoScience’s marine seismic streamer fleet. Fugro exited the marine seismic streamer
market before the mid-2014 plunge in oil prices. However, they retained their OBS capability
as a joint venture with CGG which is Seabed GeoSolutions. OBS data was regarded as “better” because it
was derived from multi-component (2-4) sensors, whereas seismic streamer data
sensors were single component. One of the
problems with marine seismic streamer data was the loss of recorded bandwidth
which correlates to depth that sources and streamers are towed. This loss of bandwidth is known as a “ghost
notch” caused from upcoming energy cancelling down-coming energy from the water
surface. In 2007, a dual-sensor towed
streamer was introduced into the market that could rival OBS data quality. In 2009, the first dual-sensor 3D survey was
carried out, ushering in an industry wide embrace of “broadband” seismic
streamer data. Another way to acquire
broadband seismic data from single-sensor streamers is through varying the
depth of the streamers and then applying sophisticated data processing algorithms. In 2013, a 4-component streamer was
introduced into the market. As vessels got larger and towed larger spreads,
there also became a need for improved streamer control equipment.
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
We are witnessing a seismic change in consumer behavior. That change is being brought about by technology and the access people have to information.
While there have been remarkable innovations and advances in
marine seismic streamer acquisition technologies and techniques, advances have also
been made in OBS that are together transforming marine geophysical business
model paradigms. In a competitive
market, innovation is essential.
However, conservative concession operators have shown a reluctance to
pay any premium for such innovations. Within
the MSS blog article, Toward
a New Horizon in the Marine Seismic Streamer Industry (24-January-2018),
we reminisced about Schlumberger’s seismic acquisition entity, WesternGeco
(WG)’s, history and their contributions to the marine seismic industry. Schlumberger’s CEO, Paal Kibsgaard, announced
that the company would exit the marine and land acquisition businesses in
January 2018. The reason essentially
boiled down to the return on investment developing and deploying innovative
technologies. The MSS blog article, Upstream
Exploration and the Paradox of Choice (5-June-2015), describes
how the operator competitive bidding process discourages more expensive
innovative proprietary technologies until they are commoditized and offered by
a variety of service company providers. An
example of this is in the variety of solutions offered for marine broadband
streamer acquisition. Broadband is
commoditized, the specific techniques and equipment used are distinct and vary
in equipment and operational costs.
On 15 November 2018, it was announced that relative
newcomer, Shearwater GeoServices (Shearwater), had completed the acquisition of
the marine seismic acquisition and operations of WG. Shearwater’s portfolio now includes marine
seismic streamer, as well as ocean bottom seismic (OBS) exploration
services. On 27 December 2018, seismic
streamer player, Polarcus, announced their winning a combined towed streamer
and ocean bottom node (OBN) contract that they will perform cooperatively with
SAE Exploration. Earlier, 7 December 2018, ocean bottom node
player, Magseis, acquired Fairfield’s Seismic Technologies data acquisition
business to become Magseis Fairfield.
These moves in late 2018 have redefined the marine seismic industry. Both Magseis and Shearwater are both relative
newcomers to their respective principal markets. Through their acquiring additional marine
data acquisition resources, they are now both dominant players. Shearwater added seven (7) marine seismic
streamer vessels to their fleet, as well as three (3) multipurpose source and
OBS vessels. MagSeisFairfield will also
have a dominant position in the OBS/OBN market.
Schlumberger made a decision to exit the data acquisition
game. It has been my position since my
first blog post article, The
Seismic Vessel Over-Capacity Problem (5-May-2015) that the marine
seismic streamer market provides a snapshot of the trends and health of
offshore development and overall oil and gas spending and growth. Both Schlumberger (of which WG was a part)
and Fairfield will continue to have a presence in providing seismic data
processing, imaging, and multi-client (MC) products and services. Both Schlumberger and Fairfield are
innovators of proprietary technologies in marine seismic acquisition and are
currently pursuing claims of patent infringement against their rivals. Schlumberger’s is challenging ION streamer
control technology. Fairfield’s recent
claim of patent infringement of their OBN acquisition technology by Seabed
GeoSolutions (SG) are current examples. Both
Shearwater and MagSeisFairfield will quite possibly be in sole possession of
cutting edge proprietary data acquisition technologies.
A century ago, petroleum – what we call oil – was just an obscure commodity; today it is almost as vital to human existence as water.
I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.
The plunge in oil prices in mid-2014 led most seismic
streamer acquisition vessel owners to reduce the number of operating vessels to
adapt to the reduced offshore exploration opportunities. In the near-term, this took a large fleet of
capable vessels and equipment off the market.
With reduced demand for oil exploration, seismic streamer vessel fleets
have been decimated. The marine seismic
acquisition equation has changed significantly.
Over-capacity in the marine seismic streamer vessel market exists when
the number of vessels (streamers) in the market is greater than the demand for
data acquisition surveys that will employ such vessels. In a robust demand market, larger fleets
could be deployed strategically to minimize costly uncompensated transit times
between surveys. Equipped streamer vessels
are expensive to maintain. The objective
is always to keep vessels working and reduce transit time. If the marine seismic vessel is on-site, but
idle – or on standby – for a variety of reasons, the goal of the vessel owner
is to be compensated for the idle time by the contractor. Of course, the operator/contractor also wants
to minimize their incurred expense when vessels are not acquiring data (which
meets the contractor data requirements) in the (contract) acquisition business
model. The marine seismic streamer fleet
had been steadily adding vessels capable of towing larger streamer spreads,
which also meant reduced survey times.
Larger spreads complete surveys in less time. In a market with reduced opportunities it is
even more difficult to keep fleets working steadily and profitably.
In spite of
all of these factors, reducing survey time and cost to operators, especially
during a time of reduced oil prices, survey cost is the principal
consideration. In times past, in areas
of robust exploration, multiple seismic vessels could be working in the same
area. This was problematic for high
quality seismic data acquisition. The
sources used by the different survey vessels would impact the seismic
data. Seismic interference, as it was
referred to, occurred when the source signal from another survey vessel
polluted the recorded records from the primary survey. Expensive time-sharing agreements would
compel seismic vessels to cease data acquisition while the other recorded to
reduce seismic source interference.
However, there are now seismic data processing techniques which can
separate out unwanted seismic signal, thus again reducing idle time and expense
once caused from seismic source interference.
In fact, such data processing has been refined enough to allow surveyors
to intentionally overlap source interference.
As mentioned earlier, the points being mapped are essentially the
midpoints between the seismic source and receivers. Adding sources in acquisition and overlapping
sources for deblending in data processing is now an offered solution which
again reduces survey time and cost, but increases potential vessel idle time.
Geophysical survey customers are cost conscious consumers
and are, for the most part, risk adverse and not aggressive using innovative
technologies that increase survey costs.
However, geophysical survey customers seem willing to try new
technologies and techniques that decrease survey costs. In such a competitive environment, customers
can often get the benefit of both new technology and techniques without a
premium cost. The incentive for vessel
owners is to keep the vessels as busy as possible to reduce loss from idle
time. All of these factors do not easily
explain the rise in OBS/OBN marine seismic market share so much as the
decimation of the marine seismic streamer fleet. Marine seismic streamer acquisition is still
the most time efficient marine seismic acquisition technique. In times past, offshore project
development required that oil prices be above $70 USD/bbl. This value is not firm, but any trading value
of over such an arbitrary threshold provides more opportunities for investment
in seismic surveys. Most frontier
exploration initiates with 2D (single streamer) marine seismic surveys. This data can then be used to evaluate the
area and plan subsequent 3D (multiple streamers) marine seismic surveys, which
in turn define targets for offshore drilling.
4D marine seismic streamer acquisition is used over existing reservoirs
to improve oil recovery. 4D programs are
intended to replicate the source and receiver positions of previous 3D surveys
and detect changes over time and determine optimal drilling locations.
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
Predicting oil prices is anyone’s guess.
current market (with oil prices trading below the threshold value for
profitably), developing new fields is prohibitive. OBS/OBN acquisition can focus on developed or
trafficked areas where streamer acquisition is hindered by obstructions or
other hazards and risks that exists when towing a 1100 m x 8000 m (or larger)
streamer spread 5-15 m below the sea surface.
OBS/OBN exploration programs can be more focused on quality over
quantity of CDPs. In other words,
getting more oil and gas from already developed fields where there is existing
infrastructure in place is less risky than exploring in remote expansive areas. The improved data processing deblending
techniques provide the ability to acquire marine seismic data with multiple
overlapping sources. Add to this more
sophisticated interpolation algorithms means new acquisition source-streamer
configurations can be employed to reduce survey time and costs. Less in-sea equipment also has many
operational advantages. Towing wider
spreads with fewer streamers can save on fuel and reduce the number of streamer
control and positioning equipment to monitor and maintain. Of course, from a health and safety
perspective, reduced maintenance means less risk exposure by offshore workers.
OBN seismic data acquisition is becoming more efficient and less
costly to deploy and is now poised to challenge the high-end marine seismic
streamer market. OBS/OBN technology is
equipped with multicomponent sensors that can collect full azimuth seismic
data. The step change advances in OBN
include longer battery life in nodes and faster automated deployment. Much the higher cost of OBS/OBN is attributed
to time efficiency, where as much of the expense for marine seismic is the large
and powerful streamer vessels themselves.
OBN technology can acquire 4D seismic data, as well. OBN surveys will take market share away from
high-end marine seismic streamer surveys, especially as oil prices remain below
the offshore development threshold price.
In this cost sensitive environment, cost effective 3D exploration
employing a combination of three (3) or more sources and seismic deblending data
processing techniques will be attractive for frontier exploration. Marine seismic streamer and OBN will battle
for acquiring data to reach untapped regions of existing developed fields. This is what I believe will shape the marine geophysical
data acquisition market. As has always
been the case, oil prices will continue to control marine seismic market. Also, as has always been the case, innovation
that best solves the problems of customers will win the day. The plunge in oil prices in mid-2014 significantly
impacted marine geophysical exploration.
Marine seismic will remain a boom or bust business defined by bankruptcies,
mergers, and acquisitions until there is a paradigm shift in how innovation is
embraced by marine seismic survey customers.
Keeping customers is about the experience, and the employees control the culture and temperature of the business. Never forget that.
At its heart, engineering is about using science to find creative, practical solutions. It is a noble profession.