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, BP is the UK’s largest corporation, with its headquarters in London. BP’s headquarters is in Houston, Texas. The company is among the largest private sector energy corporations in the world, and one of the six private sector oil exploration, natural gas, and petroleum product marketing companies. Tony Hayward took over as the Chief Executive officer in May 2007 and under Tony Hayword’s leadership and watch several miss-haps have happened. 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. BP had spilled over one million litres of oil in Alaska’s North Slope. 5,000 barrels of oil were released from the pipeline. October 2006. 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 at the Prudhoe Bay oil field managed by BP. 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.
2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill
On April 20, 2010, a semi-submersible exploratory offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded after a blowout and sank two days later, killing eleven people and causing a massive oil spill threatening the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, and Florida. The rig is owned and operated by Transocean Ltd on behalf of BP, which is the majority owner of the oil field. The company originally estimated the size of the leak at about 1,000 barrels a day but later accepted government estimates of a leak of at least 5,000 barrels per day. On April 30, BP stated that it would harness all of its resources to battle the oil spill, spending $7 million a day with its partners to try to contain the disaster.
BP was running the well without a remote control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations, Brazil and Norway, as a last resort protection against underwater spills. The use of such devices is not mandated by U.S. regulators. The U.S. Government gave the responsibility of the incident to BP and will hold it accountable for costs incurred in containing the situation. On May 11, 2010, Congress called the executives of BP, Transocean, and Halliburton to a hearing regarding the oil spill. When probed for answers regarding the events leading up to the explosion, each company blamed the other. BP blamed Transocean who owned the rig, who then blamed the operators of the rig, BP. They also blamed Halliburton, who built the well casing.
Steven Wereley, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, analyzed videotape of the leak using particle image velocimetry and estimated oil flow rates at between 56,000 to 84,000 barrels per day, or equivalent to one Exxon Valdez spill every 3.5 to 2.4 days. A second, smaller leak has been estimated to be releasing 25,000 barrels per day, suggesting that the total size of the leak may well be in excess of 100,000 barrels per day and became the largest oil spill in US history.
Environmental and safety record
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.
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 2009 BP used nearly US$16 million to lobby US Congress, breaking the company’s previous record (from 2008) of US$10.4 million.