BP is a British global energy company which is the third largest energy
company and the fourth largest company in the world. As a multinational
oil company ("oil major") BP is the UK's largest corporation, with its
headquarters in St James's, City of Westminster, London. BP America's
headquarters is in the Two Westlake Park in the Energy Corridor area of
Houston, Texas. The company is among the largest private sector energy
corporations in the world, and one of the six "supermajors" (vertically
integrated private sector oil exploration, natural gas, and petroleum
product marketing companies).
The Board Members are:
* Carl-Henric Svanberg – Chairman
* Sir Ian Prosser – Non-executive director
* Byron Grote – Chief Financial Officer
* Andy Inglis – Chief executive, Exploration and Production
* Antony Burgmans – Non-executive director, board of Mauritshuis, AEGON, Unilever
* Cynthia Carroll – Non-executive director, CEO of Anglo American, also board of De Beers
* Sir William Castell – Non-executive director chairman of The Prince’s Trust
* George David – Non-executive director
* Tony Hayward – CEO/MD BP Worldwide
* Ian Conn
* George David vice-chairman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics
* Erroll Davis, board of General Motors and Union Pacific.
* Douglas J Flint, CBE director HSBC
* Dr DeAnne Julius, director of Chatham House
BP was named by Mother Jones Magazine as one of the "ten worst
corporations" in both 2001 and 2005 based on its environmental and
human rights records. In 1991 BP was cited as the most polluting
company in the US based on EPA toxic release data. BP has been charged
with burning polluted gases at its Ohio refinery (for which it was
fined $1.7 million), and in July 2000 BP paid a $10 million fine to the
EPA for its management of its US refineries. According to PIRG
research, between January 1997 and March 1998, BP was responsible for
104 oil spills. BP patented the Dracone Barge to aid in oil spill
clean-ups across the world.
Past Controversy related to BP
BP has been criticised for its involvement with Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
pipeline, due to human rights, environmental and safety concerns.
In July 2006, a group of Colombian farmers won a multi million pound
settlement from BP after the British oil and gas company was accused of
benefiting from a regime of terror carried out by Colombian government
paramilitaries to protect a 450-mile (720 km) pipeline.
Mist mountain project
There have been some calls for BP to halt its "Mist Mountain" Coalbed
Methane Project in the Southern Rocky Mountains of British Columbia.
The proposed 500 km² project is directly adjacent to the
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.
Canadian oil sands
BP is one of numerous firms who are extracting oil from Canadian oil
sands, a process that produces four times as much CO2 as conventional
drilling. The Cree aboriginal group describe BP as being complicit in
'the biggest environmental crime on the planet'. The Cree aboriginal
group also describe the oil sands projects some of the great economic
influences of the area.
Hazardous substance dumping
In September 1999, one of BP’s US subsidiaries, BP Exploration Alaska
(BPXA), agreed to resolve charges related to the illegal dumping of
hazardous wastes on the Alaska North Slope, for $22 million. The
settlement included the maximum $500,000 criminal fine, $6.5 million in
civil penalties, and BP’s establishment of a $15 million environmental
management system at all of BP facilities in the US and Gulf of Mexico
that are engaged in oil exploration, drilling or production. The
charges stemmed from the 1993 to 1995 dumping of hazardous wastes on
Endicott Island, Alaska by BP’s contractor Doyon Drilling. The firm
illegally discharged waste oil, paint thinner and other toxic and
hazardous substances by injecting them down the outer rim, or annuli,
of the oil wells. BPXA failed to report the illegal injections when it
learned of the conduct, in violation of the Comprehensive Environmental
Response, Compensation and Liability Act.
Texas City Refinery explosion
In March 2005, BP's Texas City, Texas refinery, one of its largest
refineries, exploded causing 15 deaths, injuring 180 people and forcing
thousands of nearby residents to remain sheltered in their homes. A
large column filled with hydrocarbon overflowed to form a vapour cloud,
which ignited. The explosion caused all the casualties and substantial
damage to the rest of the plant. The incident came as the culmination
of a series of less serious accidents at the refinery, and the
engineering problems were not addressed by the management. Maintenance
and safety at the plant had been cut as a cost-saving measure, the
responsibility ultimately resting with executives in London.
The fall-out from the accident continues to cloud BP's corporate image
because of the mismanagement at the plant. There have been several
investigations of the disaster, the most recent being that from the
U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board which "offered a
scathing assessment of the company." OSHA found "organizational and
safety deficiencies at all levels of the BP Corporation" and said
management failures could be traced from Texas to London.
The company pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Air Act,
was fined $50 million, and sentenced to three years probation.
On October 30, 2009, the US Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) fined BP an additional $87 million — the largest
fine in OSHA history — for failing to correct safety hazards revealed
in the 2005 explosion. Inspectors found 270 safety violations that had
been previously cited but not fixed and 439 new violations. BP is
appealing that fine.
Propane price manipulation
Four BP energy traders in Houston were charged with manipulating prices
of propane in October 2007. As part of the settlement of the case, BP
paid the US government a $303 million fine, the largest commodity
market settlement ever in the US. The settlement included a $125
million civil fine to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, $100
million to the Justice Department, $53.3 million to a restitution fund
for purchasers of the propane BP sold, and $25 million to a US Postal
Service consumer fraud education fund.
In August, 2006, BP shut down oil operations in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska,
due to corrosion in pipelines leading up to the Alaska Pipeline. The
wells were leaking insulating agent called Arctic pack, consisting of
crude oil and diesel fuel, between the wells and ice. BP had spilled
over one million litres of oil in Alaska's North Slope. This corrosion
is caused by sediment collecting in the bottom of the pipe, protecting
corrosive bacteria from chemicals sent through the pipeline to fight
this bacteria. There are estimates that about 5,000 barrels (790 m3) of
oil were released from the pipeline. To date 1,513 barrels (240.5 m3)
of liquids, about 5,200 cubic yards (4,000 m3) of soiled snow and 328
cubic yards (251 m3) of soiled gravel have been recovered. After
approval from the DOT, only the eastern portion of the field was shut
down, resulting in a reduction of 200,000 barrels per day (32,000 m3/d)
until work began to bring the eastern field to full production on 2
In May 2007, the company announced another partial field shutdown owing
to leaks of water at a separation plant. Their action was interpreted
as another example of fallout from a decision to cut maintenance of the
pipeline and associated facilities.
On 16 October 2007 Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
officials reported a toxic spill of methanol (methyl alcohol) at the
Prudhoe Bay oil field managed by BP PLC. Nearly 2,000 gallons of mostly
methanol, mixed with some crude oil and water, spilled onto a frozen
tundra pond as well as a gravel pad from a pipeline. Methanol, which is
poisonous to plants and animals, is used to clear ice from the insides
of the Arctic-based pipelines.
Contributions to political campaigns
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, BP is the United
States' hundredth largest donor to political campaigns, having
contributed more than US$5 million since 1990, 72% and 28% of which
went to Republican and Democratic recipients, respectively. BP has
lobbied to gain exemptions from U.S. corporate law reforms.
Additionally, BP paid the Podesta Group, a Washington, D.C.-based
lobbying firm, $160,000 in the first half of 2007 to manage its
congressional and government relations.
In February 2002 BP's chief executive, Lord Browne of Madingley,
renounced the practice of corporate campaign contributions, noting:
"That's why we've decided, as a global policy, that from now on we will
make no political contributions from corporate funds anywhere in the
Despite this, in 2009 BP used nearly US$16 million to lobby US
Congress, breaking the company's previous record (from 2008) of US$10.4
Now how can anyone read this companies history of negligence and be surprised at the Deep Water Horizon disaster?
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