Open Letter to Petroleum Geo-Services ASA Board of Directors (18-Jun-2017)

ATTN:                                    Walter Qvam, Chairman

CC  Directors:                     Daniel J. Piette, Holly Van Deursen, Carol Bell, Anne Grethe Dalanem, Morten Borge, Richard Herbert

Chairman Qvam, et al.:

  1. The PGS board of directors and several senior managers are corrupt and have behaved immorally and criminally to the detriment of the enterprise and its stakeholders.
  2. PGS board of directors and several senior managers, including compliance officers, need to be investigated thoroughly by a third-party for corruption and fraud.

I am writing this letter in order to reiterate directly and publicly my concerns regarding the direction and management of Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS).

The PGS Board of Directors, PGS Executive Management, and several other senior managers have abrogated their legal agency responsibilities to the detriment of PGS stakeholders, competitors, the marine seismic service sector, as well as the greater oil and gas (O&G) industry.

As a general rule, given the choice, most would prefer not to do business with evil and dishonest moral degenerates.  Thus, the long-term business success and future of PGS is in jeopardy with the current board and executive composition of the enterprise.

Several articles have been written highlighting pointed allegations of director and manager malfeasance and corruption.  Be forewarned that the recently announced resignation of Jon Erik Reinhardsen as President and CEO of PGS will not stop such publications.  The objective is justice and so the board and any newly appointed executive will still be accountable for past transgressions.  At least the world-wide-web has a memory for truth and accountability.

The several pointed public allegations of PGS agent corruption have been made and they require and deserve a responsiblepublic response and accountability.  An ethically directed and managed enterprise would not hesitate in the opportunity to vindicate and defend enterprise and agent decisions and reputations.  At the very least, it would be the respectable thing to do.  This is what pledged Core Values are all about.

It has been remarked that PGS’ non-response is a commercial decision.  But, directors and executives failing to defend their honor and take responsibility for decisions and actions is only self-serving.  It is the very definition of corruption.  Such decisions only benefit the corrupt and criminal agents/actors.  The unfortunate truth is that PGS is directed by the ethically bankrupt and self-serving.  Such indifference is a blemish on all professionals and a danger to all stakeholders.

It is never commercially beneficial for an organization to have a damaged reputation and to be toxically and corruptly directed and managed.  Such toxic organizations can never perform optimally.  This is a fact.  Therefore, commercial benefit to an organization can only be achieved through ethical and disciplined management guidance and practices.

The PGS board and management transgressions are specifically in reference to the responsibilities of PGS board members, which are set forth within the published Rules of Procedureclause 1.3, and clause 2.1:

Clause 1.3:

1.3 The Board is responsible for supervising the business activities of PGS. This includes controlling and implementing measures with the aim of ensuring that:

  • the CEO uses proper and effective management and control systems, including systems for risk management, which continuously provide a satisfactory overview of the Company’s risk exposure; the control functions work as intended and that the necessary measures are taken to reduce extraordinary risk exposure;
  • there exist satisfactory routines to ensure implementation and follow-up of principles and guidelines adopted by the Board in relation to ethical behavior, conformity to law, health, safety and working environment, and social responsibility;

Clause 2.1:

2.1 The CEO has responsibility for ensuring that the Board receives all the information it requires to fulfill its duties pursuant to Rule 1 above.

PGS Board and executive team continue to disregard and/or misrepresent their commitment to health, safety and the environment (HSE) to stakeholders and the broader marine geophysical service sector.  PGS broadcasts that their HSE performance is better than industry standard.

PGS destroys both the records and the employees who bring up HSE concerns.  Instead, PGS corrupt board and executives protect violators and intentionally deceive stakeholders.  PGS board and management actions show how absurd such laudatory HSE performance claims are and how dangerous such deception is to the geophysical service sector and the O&G industry.

PGS does not value real management nor leadership skills.  They ignore adherence to Core Values and civil workplace behavior.  This is a significant long-term risk to PGS.  In fact, a litany of corrupt and nefarious behaviors are allowed to protect and buttress the corrupt and criminal acts of PGS board members and executives.

Apparently, the board and executive/senior management believe that legal and compliant behavior includes,

  • allowing managers to threaten, disparage and defame subordinate without basis
  • allow managers to abuse their positions, bypass policy, misrepresent and withhold information,  and obstruct legal rights of employees and to pervert the course of justice
  • not thoroughly and fairly investigating health and safety concerns
  • fabricate one-sided investigations
  • create false exculpatory evidence/documentation
  • destroy legitimate health and safety reports
  • destroy the actual complaint
  • create an entirely false narrative used to expel an employee under false pretenses
  • bribing or misleading employee counsel to affect desired (corrupt) outcome
  • lie to stakeholders
  • remain silent about any and all allegations that may impact the current board and management
  • provide false information to government agencies, such as UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and UK Border Agency

If these actions are compliant and legal, then PGS board and compliance team have a responsibility, based on the Rules of Procedure as well as the CEO Responsibility Letter, to inform all PGS stakeholders, including the geophysical service sector and O&G industry how this is so?  If all or some of these actions are non-compliant or illegal, the board has the responsibility to rectify the situation.  But, PGS board and managers remain silent.  The silence and obstruction simply does not satisfy either of these criteria.

It is fairly obvious that PGS has wrapped themselves up in an illegal veneer which makes their actions perhaps appear legal.  But, such threads of deceit are thin and so the entire fraud could unravel with just one truthful remark from management.  Corrupt agents of the board and management feel no legal obligation to really address the issues.  The irresponsible silence reveals both corruption and the many failed promises to stakeholders.  Corrupt agents are acting out of self-protection and not for the betterment and welfare of lawful stakeholders of PGS.

Corrupt PGS board and management declared war on me and my family, as well as all compliant stakeholders.  Corrupt PGS board and management back stab, lie, cheat and steal.  Then they retreat in silence when confronted directly.  Corrupt and cowardly!

Why would any honest board of directors protect and promote corrupt marine seismic industry dilettantes?  No honest and rule abiding board of directors would.

My former boss, corrupt liar Edward von Abendorff, PGS VP Marine Contract Sales – Africa, was promoted two times during the three years thatI was his bullied and harassed subordinate. As an American I was enthused about working for the sales team in England.  I was completely blind-sided by where I ended up. So absent was Abendorff”s ability to actually manage, behave honestly and with civility that corrupt PGS management had to help him and give him more misused power to abuse.  The only thing that seemed appropriate in his promotion was the removal of “manager” from his job title.  Abendorff had a plaque in his office bestowed upon him.  He was rewarded not for providing the best possible customer service, but for achieving the greatest profit margin on a contract.  In other words, PGS rewards those who deceive and negotiate the best short term gain for the corrupt and do not value honest long term business relationships.

Abendorff had threatened me that his boss, Simon Cather, President Marine Contract – Africa, supported his mismanagement fully and it would be folly to complain.  Indeed, Cather not only supported nefarious acts of sabotage, cowardly lies, and bullying by proxy of accepting his actions, he actively participated in the creation of fraudulent defamatory documents created to harm me professionally and personally.  Of course, such deeds are also rewarded by the corrupt and dishonest board and management.  Cather is highlighted as PGS’ anti-corruption champion within the annual, albeit bogus, PGS Responsibility Report.  Yes, bully and defraud an employee who makes a health and safety complaint and we will make you our champion (!) seems to be the message.  Pathetic.

However, so deceitful and corrupt is PGS board and management that even the PGS compliance team is involved with the deception and forgeries.  Terje Bjølseth, SVP Human Resources and compliance team member signed a false instrument indicating there was some investigation into the complaint, as is required by law.  The forged memo referenced meetings that never happened and documents that never existed.  They don’t even reference the actual complaint!  Only signed by Bjølseth and (then) Marine Contract EVP, Per Arild Reksnes, to pretend the health and safety complaint was investigated and settled when it never was.   This seemed to meet the ethical and legal compliance standard of PGS.   Rune Olav Pedersen, also on the compliance team, was promoted from SVP to EVP.  This punctuates a pattern of rewarding the most corrupt and dishonest at PGS into the top tiers.  This is characteristic of the most insecure and evil narcissistic-psychopathic temperaments.

My former co-worker and witness, John Barnard,  was copied and included to have knowledge of all these events.  He knows that upper management harasses, bullies, and deceives.  He knows the facts and documents used and retained by PGS are false and also recount a false self-serving narrative.  He knows upper management and the board of directors are liars and frauds.  Of course, Barnard was promoted to remain silent so that management would be able to continue to carry on the deception.  So sad to see your integrity collapse into corrupt cowardice, John.  The sons and daughters of PGS directors and executives must be very proud that their cowardly and corrupt parents remain employed and possibly out of jail at the expense of the honest and hard-working who have the courage to speak truth to power.

The objective of these behaviors is the destruction of the target and the exhibition of exalted corrupt power.  It is a warning that there is no justice and no stopping the demonic canker and unjust tyranny of the empowered PGS criminal and corrupt agents.  The first consideration for compliance of internally governed enterprises is how the Rules of Procedure were followed and then how internal policy was adhered to.  Any derivative of corrupt processes can only have the appearance of propriety through the misuse of agency.  It is preposterous to assume that any by-product of such nefarious actions could indeed be legal.  It is only very complicated and expensive to unravel when the corrupt are uncooperative and conspire amongst themselves to escape accountability.  This is the behavior of criminals, isn’t it?

I know what the truth is and so does the board of directors and many senior executives.  PGS board of directors and management remain silent for one reason and one reason only.  They are corrupt and have invested substantial shareholder valuein time and resources engaged in a campaign of non-compliant rule breaking to harm an employee revealing corruption and health and safety transgressions.  The PGS board of directors and management have misused PGS resources to protect these rule breakers and hide their incompetence and poor judgment.  The unethical behavior of the board and senior executives is both encouraged and withheld from most unwitting stakeholders and investors.  There will be a reckoning.  When the board of directors selects a new CEO and President a new writing campaign will begin in concert with articles focusing on Statoil’s choice of Reinhardsen to chair their board of directors.  Such a choice is a slap in the face to the industry and its pursuit or a safe and healthy workplace.  In the end, the truth can only hurt the corrupt.  And so explains clearly the silence of the PGS board of directors and senior executives.  When will the PGS board of directors find the courage to do the right thing their agency requires?

Still waiting,

Steven D. Kalavity

USA citizen, anti-bullying and anti-corruption advocate and former PGS Marine Contract Sales Supervisor – Africa, Weybridge, England