Remember these documents that were buried in the desert in New Mexico?   They supposedly pertained to Shell Oil and a pipeline to Mexico.   I have just GOT to stop cleaning out my old files because I find all kinds of things that were left hanging.   I have two articles from 2003, and one from 2004.   I can not find anything on it since.

From May 2003

EOTT finds documents while digging in New Mexico

Thousands of documents allegedly withheld when a surviving Enron subsidiary bought pipelines from another oil company were exhumed Friday from a 45-foot-deep hole on the plains of southeastern New Mexico.

EOTT Energy LLC, the buyer, was tipped off about the buried records by a confidential informant who once worked for Texas-New Mexico Pipeline Co., said Dan Dolan, an Albuquerque attorney representing EOTT. Texas-New Mexico was the Shell Oil subsidiary that sold EOTT the pipelines

The landowners sued Texas-New Mexico Pipeline and EOTT in March 2001 after discovering well water was contaminated in the early 1990s by a pipeline spill. The pipeline was owned at the time by Texas-New Mexico Pipeline.

EOTT workers used heavy equipment and dug by hand to excavate a 45-foot-deep hole on two acres southwest of Hobbs, near the Texas state line.  Many of the documents were burlap-wrapped bundles. Most stuck together. They were placed in the boxes and taken to an EOTT office in Hobbs.

Then I read that they may have found more documents buried near Midland, Texas.  This article is from June 2003.

More pipeline documents may be collecting dust near Midland

The case of the buried documents just keeps getting more bizarre.

Two weeks ago, a cache of 190 boxes full of documents belonging to Texas-New Mexico Pipeline Co. was dug up from a 45-foot-deep hole at a site along the company’s pipeline in New Mexico.  Certain assets of the Texas-New Mexico Pipeline Co., formerly owned by a Shell Oil Co. subsidiary, were sold to Enron Corp. and are now owned by EOTT Energy Partners.

There has been much speculation as to what the records might contain, why they were buried, and what impact they might have on litigation between Houston-based EOTT Energy Partners and Shell over an oil spill from the pipeline.  But before the dust had even begun to settle on that strange situation, Shell revealed that there is a second site of buried TNMP documents, this one in West Texas.

EOTT has hinted that there could be some very serious illegalities at play. But Shell, for its part, keeps insisting that its relationship to TNMP is only “indirect” and that the documents are nothing important.

I found a very short article from 2004, and then nothing more.  

Uncovered Documents May Be Trouble for Oil Company

The date given in this article says the documents were dug up in November 2003, but that does not go along with the other articles.   I find the Shell statement at the end so very ridiculous.  “pre-existing hole”…

Residents of Midland, Texas, filed suit against EOTT in 2001, claiming that their well water was contaminated by oil from a pipeline leak. EOTT settled with the residents and then sued Shell to recover costs of the settlements and remediation. EOTT argued it did not own the pipeline at the time of the incident and was unaware of any potential environmental problems when it acquired the company. The newly discovered records could change the course of the litigation and result in more legal woes for Shell.

New Mexico District Attorney Thomas Rutledge told the Houston Business Journal that his office will take legal action if it appears that the pipeline company buried the documents to hide or destroy criminal evidence. If the company did indeed try to cover up environmental problems or hide significant information from shareholders, the public, or potential buyers, it could have violated federal securities laws as well as federal and state environmental and pipeline regulations.

A Shell spokesperson told the Houston Business Journal that the documents are simply “office refuse” that was disposed of in a pre-existing hole.

That’s funny, a pre-existing hole 40 something feet deep.   Nah, we didn’t dig that hole, it was already there.  

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