Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Spilling oil as a way of life for BP
by Larry Geller
The article BP’s Image Coated in Sludge After Years of Greenwashing (Unsilent Generations, 5/4/2010) describes a company that profited from catastrophes.
Following a bulleted list of explosions, oil leaks and other disasters associated with British Petroleum operations, is this report:
During the period that all of these human and environmental catastrophes were going on, BP sales rose from $192 billion in 2004 to $240 billion in 2005, and then to $266 billion in 2006. The company’s profits fell in 2007 following the disasters and fines, but began rebounding as soon as BP announced massive layoffs.
The article describes a company that has rebranded itself while doing damage, and how they went about it. This should be required reading for Obama and for those Congresspeople who favor more drilling to satisfy this government’s unquenchable thirst for petroleum.
For the last decade, BP has been busily engaged in a multi-million dollar greenwashing campaign. Changing its name from British Petroleum to just BP, the company adopted a new slogan, "Beyond Petroleum," and began a "rebranding" effort to depict itself as a public-spirited, environmentally sensitive, green energy enterprise, the very model of 21st century corporate responsibility.
Even before the Deepwater Horizon disaster, BP’s green image was nothing more than a scam. While making miniscule investments in things like solar power, biofuels, and carbon fuel cells that backed its PR claims, BP continued to work relentlessly to expand its oil and gas operations. In the last decade, the world's second largest producer of fossil fuels, the company drilled (and spilled) vast quantities of oil and gas on Alaska's North Slope and in the North Sea. It positioned itself to rip up Canada's tar sands to extract its dirty oil, and grabbed a 50 percent interest in Iraq's rich Rumaila oil field. BP boasted the highest number of explosions and other accidents at its U.S. refineries (several of them deadly), and made the Multinational Monitor's 10 Worst Companies lists in 2000 and 2005, based on its environmental and human rights record.
(Thanks to the Progressive Review for pointer to this story.)