Royal Dutch Shell's London headquarters has been shuttered since Monday (15 November) after the River Thames decided to pour into the iconic office building.
The Register understands that the oil giant's Shell Centre, which stands on London’s South Bank in Waterloo, is awash with water from the River Thames, scuppering assorted building facilities including IT systems housed in the basement.
The building is famed for using water from the River Thames for cooling purposes, and it is thought this is the cause of the deluge.
However, various spokespeople in London and The Hague, where Shell’s other major office is located, confirmed the flood, but refused to say whether it had affected IT systems specifically.
“There’s too much water,” exclaimed a Shell spokeswoman, who went on to tell El Reg that the firm’s London server room was “not necessarily” located in the basement.
“They [Shell in London] won’t tell us [Shell in The Hague],” she said, before weirdly adding: “We don’t give names when interviewed”.
Worse still, there are uncorroborated reports that the buildings’ lifts are under siege from some shifty-looking Cockney eels.
We asked a security guard at the Shell Centre, which opened its doors in 1963, about the slippery river creature problem.
“[Laughs] I don’t know anything about that,” he said.
Meanwhile, Shell has issued several statements over the past few days about the flood.
“We can confirm that on Monday evening (15 November) a leak occurred in the basement of Shell Centre,” it said on Tuesday.
“The leak has been stopped. However our central heating system has been affected so Shell Centre is temporarily closed. This closure does not affect our business operations.”
The company has told staff based in Waterloo to enact their "business continuity plans". In practice, this has meant Shell's employees have been working from home all week and are currently being told not to return to the Shell Centre until next Monday.
We asked Shell if maintenance cutbacks had contributed to the flood, but at time of writing it hadn’t got back to us with comment.
In March 2008, Shell waved goodbye to 3,000 IT staffers in a $4bn outsourcing gig.
The company’s London office at one point contained a travel agency, hairdresser, restaurants and bars, a gym, bank, cinema and huge swimming pool – all operating underneath the tower. ®