BP continues down moral bankruptcy path to economic abyss

Intro

BP is under pressure over its increasingly bare hypocrisy on climate change this week, with the British Museum being called on to drop it as a sponsor, and protests in Australia and outside its AGM in London demanding it abandon plans to drill for vast new reserves in the formidable, inhospitable frontier of the Great Australian Bight. Shareholders at the AGM are angry that a dramatic increase to BP Chief Bob Dudley’s pay sends the wrong message given the company is being hammered by oil market volatility, and are calling on the company to explain how it will respond to the global transition away from fossil fuels.  Exxon knew, and BP knows the impact it is having on the global climate. But instead of putting their  businesses on a less destructive path, oil, gas and coal companies continue to chose to focus on denial, greenwashing and lobbying efforts, as they push for new reserves in deeper, riskier deposits, like BP’s plan to drill in the Great Australian Bight. Six years on from the infamous Deepwater Horizon disaster, which is expected to cost the company $53 billion, the company is once again risking huge economic, reputational and environmental damage on a dire oil gamble; and is doing so at a time when most of the world has woken up to the disastrous consequences of remaining hooked on fossils, and is now racing into a clean energy future.

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Key Points

  • Ending dangerous oil exploration will benefit people and planet. Despite paying out $20 billion in penalties for its Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP continues to search for new reserves in deeper, riskier locations; such as the Australian Bight, where a spill could cost South Australia’s fishing and tourism industries over $1 billion, and decimate its rich marine ecosystem. Extracting and using oil pollutes the air, the water and the environment, and spills put people, their communities and livelihoods, local plants, fish and animals in danger. Only by plugging the boreholes – and favouring clean energy sources – will companies eradicate these threats.

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Key Quotes

  • “BP totally stuffed up in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico with tragic consequences. Now, BP wants to drill in the deeper, more treacherous and more remote waters of the Great Australian Bight. You have got to be kidding.” – Wilderness Society South Australian director Peter Owen
  • “BP has no right to risk the Great Australian Bight. It is an environmentally pristine area, a haven to a plethora of rare species, and given its remote location and dangerous weather patterns, is an extremely risky location for deep-water oil drilling. The project is facing investigation by the Australian Senate, but the company has disclosed neither its Environmental Plan nor the reasons for its rejection by the authorities. Investors in BP should be aware of the significant international opposition to this proposal, as well as the multiple financial risks.” – Director of Campaigns at The Wilderness Society, Lyndon Schneiders
  • “Adding additional oil reserves to the world’s energy system, as proposed by BP, is inconsistent with the global temperature and the emission limits the Australian Government agreed to in Paris last year.  Endeavours to add more oil to the system are therefore clearly at odds with the commitment Australia is making globally to meet its climate targets, and ultimately mean the oil will become a stranded asset.” – CEO of Climate Analytics, Bill Hare
  • “By pressing ahead with exploration in the Great Australian Bight, the company appears tone deaf to the shift in investor sentiment on climate risk following the Paris agreement. Investors in BP overwhelmingly voted last year in favour of smarter environmental risk management within its corporate strategy. These plans to drill for oil in the Bight raise a big red flag for investors who are already demanding answers about how BP can justify the project.” – Chief Executive of ShareAction, Catherine Howarth
  • “BP’s decision to go ahead with this controversial high-cost, high-risk deepwater drilling in the Great Australian Bight must be challenged by investors. By refusing to disclose highly relevant information about the risks associated with Bight project, the company is failing in its responsibility to its shareholders. BP simply can’t afford the prospect of a Macondo-like oil spill in an area of such marine significance.” – Campaigns Officer at ShareAction, Juliet Phillips
  • “The available documents do not provide sufficient information to determine if BP has properly assessed the risks with particular attention to the Loss of Well Control hazard and provided safeguards that assure that the risks have and will be managed to be ALARP (As Low As Reasonably Practicable). The requirements are clear. It is up to BP to prove, using validated risk and assessment management processes… that the proposed exploitation of the GAB public resources meet these risk requirements.” – University of California-Berkeley professor and consultant to the White House commission that investigated the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Professor Robert Bea

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