BP sponsorship has ‘a corrupting influence’

Activist theatre group BP or not BP? gatecrash a BP-sponsored Day of the Dead event at the British Museum

It’s no coincidence that BP – a company behind a record-breaking oil spill that continues to drill for new fossil fuels – sponsors a range of iconic cultural institutions that provide a cost-effective way of cleaning up its image.

By 2012, BP had carefully coordinated its UK sponsorship deals so that they ran in parallel. This meant that for the following five years, Tate, the British Museum, the Royal Opera House and the National Portrait Gallery would all be displaying BP logos on everything from blockbuster exhibitions about submerged cities to open air screenings of operas. Continue reading

Profiting from the Iraq war

Source: Wikimedia commons

‘Iraq is the big oil prospect,’ began the minutes of a meeting at the Foreign Office on 6 November 2002. ‘BP are desperate to get in there.’ The tone was unusually expressive for the notes of a govern­ment meeting: civil servant minute-takers normally manage to find blandness in even the most far-reaching discussions.

Four months later, a war would begin that would cost hundreds of thousands of lives, and destroy a country. But with about ten percent of the world’s oil beneath its soil, for BP Iraq meant business. Continue reading

Dodging responsibility for Deepwater Horizon

94-year-old Cajun fisherman Eugene Barthelemy with crude oil that leaked from the Deepwater Horizon spill. Photo: James Balog/Aurora photos

Eight years ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, causing the largest marine oil spill in history. BP was ultimately deemed to be responsible for the disaster — but at the time, you wouldn’t have known it. Continue reading

Why oil companies are on a collision course with a safe climate

Photo: Spencer Thomas cc

Global climate change has already begun, and the scientific consensus is that it is largely caused by burning fossil fuels and deforestation. Allowing temperatures to keep rising unabated would push the world further into climate crisis, so in 2015 governments agreed to limit warming to under 2 degrees Celsius – while acknowledging that even that wouldn’t avoid many severe impacts across the world.

If countries are serious about meeting that limit, approximately 80 percent of the fossil fuels we already know about will need to be left in the ground. Continue reading

BP: the UK’s biggest lobbyist in Europe

An activist from BP or not BP? poses as a BP lobbyist. Photo Diana More.

The EU plays a major role in shaping the way energy is generated across Europe – it lays down important rules about energy markets, subsidies, efficiency standards and fuel imports. A few changes in the text of an EU directive can mean the difference between the building of new solar and wind generation or a swathe of new gas power plants in multiple countries.

Of course, if Europe made a real shift away from oil and gas towards renewables that would represent a significant threat to BP’s profits. So it’s no surprise that the oil giant has taken a leading role in lobbying against climate-friendly EU laws. Continue reading

BP starts fracking Argentinian ‘carbon bomb’

BP wants to frack this: Rio de las Vueltas in Patagonia. Photo: Portodaspartes via Flickr | CC2.0

BP doesn’t carry out the highly controversial extraction technique known as fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in the UK because, in its own words, it would ‘attract the wrong kind of attention‘.

But BP is fracking in Patagonia, Argentina, through its majority stake in the company Pan American Energy. Continue reading