Crushing protest in Idku, Egypt

Anti-BP protests on the streets of Idku, Egypt. Photo: Mika Minio-Paluello

BP has secured lucrative deals under successive administrations in Egypt regardless of their human rights records, from former dictator Hosni Mubarak to current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, elected following a military coup. Continue reading

‘Make the Future’: teaching children there’s a future for oil

Shell's cynical 'Make the Future' campaign was subvertised in June 2018

All fossil fuel companies invest large amounts in PR campaigns in a bid to shape their public perception. But Shell has been one of the most active in this area, developing elaborately emotive billboard posters, slick television commercials and more, to give the impression that its business plans are ‘greener’ than they really are. Continue reading

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

How Shell shaped the story at London’s Science Museum

‘Drop the Shell, from Prestige to Disgrace’: a performance by Fossil Free Culture Nl in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, that saw 7 women simultaneously drink a thick black fluid from white shells and slowly let this fluid drip from their mouths to stain their crisp white dresses. Photo: Laura Ponchel

Oil and gas companies get many benefits out of sponsoring a museum, from boosting their brand image to sipping wine alongside politicians at exhibition openings. But sometimes, oil sponsors want to get more for their money and try to interfere in a museum’s decision-making. 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

How Shell stands in the way of renewable energy

Subvertised Shell posters appeared in London, Leeds, Bristol and Oxford in June 2018 ahead of Shell's #MakeTheFuture spin festival, which has co-opted pop stars in a bid to appeal to millennials. Image: Brandalism UK

Shell pours millions into lobbying policymakers to act in its corporate interest. Given the company’s dependence on fossil fuels for profit, this often means splashing the cash to try and stymie the progress of renewable energy. 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