Big Picture Climate Change Peak Energy Peak Oil Toxic Hazard

Bringing Perspective

Bringing Perspective

Is BP plc a Sustainable Business ?

An assessment of BP plc’s performance in relation to their climate change impact, and their approach towards ensuring both environmental sustainability and corporate survival.

by Jo Abbess
29 April 2010


The Research Question

This piece of research seeks to assess how BP plc is making adaptations in its corporate strategy, in view of the risks to its operations posed by Climate Change policy, and in the context of Peak Oil production and the subsequent inevitable Peak in Natural Gas.

Theories and Propositions

The author of this research has the view that over the course of the next 50 years, due to limits on supplies of good quality fossil fuels, and to avoid the risks of dangerous climate change from global warming, the world economy must de-carbonise, and entirely replace its sources of energy and fuel with low carbon alternatives.

According to this projection, any company that wishes to remain in business should begin their process of total decarbonisation immediately, and will be expected to show evidence for their intentions and procedures for change. This is likely to be particularly difficult for Oil and Gas companies, as their core business is based on energy and fuel resources that must be entirely replaced.

The 50 year timeframe may be beyond the thinking of most political analysts, but is relevant to pension funds, annuity providers and insurance companies. Investors are likely to become more interested in determining the carbon “liabilities” of fossil fuel stocks and shares, and take a risk-averse approach to future stakes in Oil, Gas, Coal and other high carbon fuels.

The Unit of Analysis

The unit of research analysis in this case study is BP plc, Britain’s largest company, the world’s third largest energy company and fourth largest company overall (Wikipedia, 2010). BP plc, ranking at 18 on the FT Global 500 (FT, 2010), is therefore clearly very influential on the global economy as a whole. As such a significant actor, clearly BP plc needs to be getting it right on the risks posed by climate change (IEA WEO Excerpt, 2009; IPCC, 2007) and natural resource limits (Aleklett and Campbell, 2003; Bentley, 2002; Deffeyes, 2001; Deming, 2003; Hirsch et al. 2005; Hook et al. 2009; ITPOES, 2010; Kerr, 1998; Mobbs, 2005).

The Research Design

The research in this case study is of a mostly qualitative nature, as it pertains to corporate strategy and enviro-economic dilemmas. However there is some numerical data analysed, from BP plc and also two of its peer competitors, Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil.


The Research Data

It was felt that interaction with BP plc directly would be unlikely, or restricted, and so access to strategic thinking would be limited. However, it was felt that much of the necessary data could be collected online, from BP plc’s own reporting, and from news reports, to illuminate the company’s state of mind/play, and to suggest subjects for further research. These are the steps that were taken :-

a. The research procedure began by looking at BP plc’s online documents and reports, newspaper articles (Appendix 1) and a case study from Harvard Business School (Reinhardt and Hyman, 2008).

b. Next, a face-to-face interview was conducted with SD, CSR Director at BP plc, and was followed up with a telephone conversation (Appendix 2).

c. A presentation on the research to date, together with some analysis, was given to fellow students.

d. Further newspaper articles were reviewed, together with transcripts of public speeches given by BP plc executives (Appendix 1), and an article in the Foreign Affairs magazine written by BP’s Chief Economist, (Ruehl, 2010)

Data Analysis

The data was assessed in a way similar to Grounded Theory (Glaser and Strauss 1967). As the material was read, subjects were categorised in an informal way, and further material was sought to cement or refine the categories of information. There was also some research into context, to unpack the core of BP plc’s business, product markets and corporate self-representation to various audiences. This contextual scan provided several extra categories for analysis, and also highlighted BP plc’s important role as the ultimate source of a significant proportion of global Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Some of the key categories became the basis of the class presentation.

In what follows, the analytical opinions expressed are based on the full set of categories. A selection of the data sources is given as references inline, as appropriate, and the rest are grouped by category as sections in Appendix 1. Both sets of references are a combination of various sources, for example, news media, technical reports, academic articles, engineering commentary; and all are available on the Internet, and their Hypertext Protocol links given. Some of the references pertain to more than one category, and further segregation and re-framing of the categories could re-orient the overall conclusions. However, seeking to establish patterns and meaning in the data in this way appears to be of considerable use in addressing BP plc’s way of working and their in-house strategic thinking.

A. BP plc in Context

Building Progress
Category : A Business in Enabling Global Trade and Mobility

BP’s core business is Oil and Gas, providing fuel for transportation, feedstock for petrochemical products and agrochemicals, and power and energy for manufacture. These markets are central in the global processes of trade, the foundation of industrialised economies. BP plc enables the increasing mobility of people and traded goods. In the industrialised parts of the world, the growth in transportation and freight has been of great concern to climate change policymakers (Balboa, 2010). Despite regulation regarding engine fuel efficiency, there seems to be little debate about the continued dependency on fossil fuel extractive industries, which enables the growth in transportation and freight to continue, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions to climb (Raupach et al., 2007).

Business Persuasive
Category : Influence on National and International Policymaking

BP plc evidently has an ongoing “diplomatic mission” of lobbyists and expert consultancy to all levels of government, and is present in some way during most negotiations regarding energy and fuel. For example, it was in dialogue with the European Union regarding the development of the Emissions Trading Scheme (CEO, 2009). As another example, an expert from BP was a reviewer in the 2005 Special Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on Carbon Capture and Storage (IPCC, 2005). This is to be expected, as BP is a large player, with multiple areas of energy, geology and engineering expertise. It can easily be seen that what is good for BP’s business is good for robust economic production and consumption, and this will earn them a place at the table in most policy forums.

Beaming Professional
Category : Brand and Reputation Management

There is evidence that BP plc take a special interest in polishing their public appearance (SlideShare, 2009). Controversially, they sponsor the Arts, as just one example (Art Not Oil, 2010). The Public Relations staff at BP plc give the impression of being very well-acquainted with criticisms of the company’s operations worldwide and endeavour to present BP-friendly information about their impact, mostly through their website (BP, 2010f). The corporate literature, printed by BP, available on the corporate website, and in tailored interviews and briefings reported in the Media, give the impression of having been “airbrushed” to remove any hint of possible defect, and show clear attempts to find the positives in projects where others have said there are negatives (Pearce, 2008). This is to be expected, as a large amount of capital is invested in BP plc, and they must be responsible to their shareholders to maintain public confidence in their business.

B. Categories of Enquiry

Biological Phytofuels
Category : Alternative Fuels

BP plc appears to have been encouraged by the European Union and North American “green fuel” policy to engage in investment in Biofuels. Problems with Biofuels have emerged, such as competition with food supply, and Carbon inefficiency (Biofuelwatch, 2007), and there will probably be a freeze in ramping up and advancing Biofuels policy until these problems are satisfactorily resolved. A further social justice concern emerges with Bioethanol made from sugar cane harvested by poorly paid cutters in Brazil. This is a human rights issue BP plc shares with Royal Dutch Shell. Some kinds of Biofuels will probably be relegated to the margins, however there will continue to be high demand for transport fuels that are biologically sourced. BP’s investment in Biofuels appears to consist of acquisition and partnership, rather than developing in-house skills. The United States of America Department of Energy has published a “roadmap” for the route to wide Algal Biofuel deployment (US DOE, 2009), but as yet there continue to be problems with flow rates and chemical conversion reliability. The size of BP’s investment remains small. The company’s commitment to “high performance” driving fuels and the promotion of efficient driving methods through the “targetneutral” scheme appear to be genuine, but the emissions effect seems paltry in relation to the larger need for fuel replacement. ExxonMobil, Shell and BP have all been researching algal/algae Biodiesel, although Shell considers successful development some time into the future (Everett, 2009).

Bold Pronouncements
Category : BP Public Speeches from Executives (and Articles)

The confidence in the public pronouncements from chief executives at BP plc is necessary to maintain their ranking, position and share price. Curious interpretations of industry facts have surfaced. One example is the counterpoint that Tony Hayward recently gave to projections of Peak Oil by the International Energy Agency, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, and others (Kharecha and Hansen, 2008; Rutledge, 2010). Tony Hayward’s view is not that Oil is peaking, but that demand is peaking (Mackenzie, 2010f). He says that global demand for Oil will never be as high as it was in 2007 (BBC, 2010). Interestingly, he is also of the view that there will not be shortages of Natural Gas in the United Kingdom, despite the world developing a thirst for Natural Gas to replace coal for power generation.

Between Phases
Category : Carbon Intensity (Natural Gas is cleaner than Coal)

BP plc have been promoting Natural Gas as a substitute for coal in power generation, as a bridge to the Low Carbon future of energy (BP, 2009b). Recent tragic events in the North American coal industry justify the point of view that there should be no new coal use (Lillis M., 2010). The Mountaintop Removal campaign in the United States, besides offering communications on the climate change impacts of coal, have been majoring on the local environmental damage caused by coal mining (Parkin, 2010). BP appears to have seen that this is a good moment to promote their own fuel as a “cleaner” alternative.

Backing Pricing
Category : Carbon Pricing (support for), Cap and Trade, Carbon Taxation

Tony Hayward, and other BP plc executives have been vocal in their support for a global price on Carbon, which would theoretically stimulate Green Energy developments, and make Renewables economic enough for increased investment support (Paltsev et al, 2007). BP plc operates a market in Carbon internally for the business (Victor and House, 2006), and measures and controls Carbon at the planning stages of any new project. BP’s public support for Cap and Trade over the last few years has been dented by BP America pulling out of the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), along with several other major players. USCAP has been the principal industry association supporting Cap and Trade legislation in the USA (Greenblatt, 2010). This throws into question whether BP will be serious in supporting Carbon pricing in future.

Behind Plan
Category : CCS – Carbon Capture and Storage

BP plc has been involved in the research and promotion of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies. This was an idea that began with the practice of pumping industrial Carbon Dioxide into depleting oil wells to attempt to increase the oil extraction flow rate, a procedure known as Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). There are questions as to how high and for how long the oil production flow rates are increased from depleting wells (ARI, 2010; Lake and Walsh, 2008) with EOR, or even whether more Carbon Dioxide is sequestered than released overall (Gomershall and James, 2009). This means that Carbon Dioxide injection might not pay for itself, so rendering this form of Carbon Sequestration economically unattractive without state support. BP plc pulled out of the CCS competition in the United Kingdom, presumably because they realised its cost and other drawbacks. However, all three of the companies, ExxonMobil, Shell and BP continue to claim that they are active on CCS, presumably because they expect handsome public money subsidies for CCS projects (SET, 2010).

Border Porosity
Category : CDM – Clean Development Mechanism

BP has signed a deal for another company to grow trees in Australia as a way of entering the CDM market, “offsetting” their own Fossil Fuel emissions (and possibly even offsetting the cost) (International Tree Foundation, 2009). The opportunity has probably arisen because of the extensive period of drought that has been experienced in agricultural Australia, decimating rainfed farming and viticulture, and causing low land prices (Harden, 2009). Growing trees in Australia could theoretically create localised microclimates with localised rainfall, but there may still be problems for new forestry to obtain enough irrigation because of the risk of continuing drought, and the increased evaporation due to increasing temperatures in many parts of the country. Arguably, however, planting trees to qualify for Certified Emissions Reductions credits (CERs) out of Australian Emissions Units (AEUs), is more acceptable than Oil and Gas companies seeking to get Carbon Credits by preventing Gas Flaring, by incorporating it into the CDM (Simire, 2009; Simire 2010), or squeezing Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) into the CDM (Nja, 2008).

Broken Promises
Category : Civil Society

Despite the promotion of Human Rights and social values in BP documentation, Civil Society groups, including formal and informal campaigning and advocacy organisations, have continuing concerns about BP’s operations in several regions of the world (LSE, 2009). Two cases of special concern are Natural Gas extraction from West Papua and Oil extraction in Colombia, where third parties have been highlighting the potential for collusion between BP plc and autocratic governments (The Ecologist, 2002), and BP’s failure to prevent debasement of local people and destruction of habitats as an outcome of their operations (Appendix 3). Despite these issues, and the company’s lacklustre financial performance in 2009, Tony Hayward, CEO, received a large increase in income in 2010 (Crooks and Burgess, 2010).

Below Par
Category : Climate Change Impact

BP’s annual reporting and sustainability reviews do not directly admit to the full scale of the Greenhouse Gas emissions from their Oil and Gas and refinery product sales (Appendix 4; Mathiason, 2006). In the official accounts, there are a number of footnotes and caveats accompanying the headline numbers, which are surprisingly low (BP, 2010g), although it is possible to use other more detailed figures to approximate more realistic amounts. BP plc is not the only Oil and Gas company open to accusations on these grounds – Shell is also accused of poor behaviour (Stockman et al., 2009).

Blocked Pipes
Category : Hard to Reach

BP plc praises the skills of its engineers and the advances of its technology when discussing very deep Oil and Gas fields (BP, 2010d), and the Media note every discovery with marvel and wonder. However, BP plc do not seem to want to discuss the implications of the depth of their wells. Their explorations have nearly reached the lowest parts of the “biologically active lithosphere”, the part of the Earth’s crust that has subducted since the evolution of multicellular life, locking hydrocarbons in its strata. Plus, the deeper the wells go, the harder they are to operate (National Geographic, 2004), and the more degraded the petroleum.

Blown Prospects
Category : Health and Safety in Engineering

A number of high-profile accidents, malfunctions and extreme weather damage at BP installations in the last few years have upset public confidence, and production volumes too (Fowler, 2005; Macalister, 2007a; Romm, 2010; Popular Mechanics, 2005). There have been questions raised about the commitment of BP plc to the repair and maintenance of its very remote equipment and installations, and concerns about its complicated well technology. BP’s handling of the Earth Day 2010 Transocean “Deepwater Horizon” spill disaster (Huffington Post, 2010) involved a very pro-active Public Relations exercise, presumably to maintain the value of its shares.

Battling Publics
Category : Investor Concerns

BP plc have tried to sell the virtues of unconventional Fossil Fuels to the general public and their investors. This strategy has not been universally accepted, and shareholders have been very deliberate in resisting Tar Sands development in particular (FairPensions, 2010). Institutional investors and Pension and Insurance Funds are beginning to show doubts about how secure their investments in fossil fuels will be several decades into the future (McNulty, 2010a).

Beyond Psychology
Category : Peak Demand, Peak Oil, Peak Fossil Fuels, Peak Natural Gas

BP executives appear to be able to deny reality, and not realise contradictions. Besides denying Peak Oil (instead saying there has been “peak demand”), Tony Hayward has shown high confidence in Shale Gas, even though there are strong signs that the initial flurry of production may quickly evaporate (McIntyre, 2010; Thorn, 2009). Tony Hayward, BP plc’s CEO has spoken of forty more years of Oil and sixty more years of Natural Gas globally, but has not indicated how BP will diversify its core business out of Oil and Gas before encroaching resource problems affect the company’s baseline earnings (BP, 2009c, p. 3 “…how will BP go about meeting future demand?”). The Peak in Natural Gas will almost certainly affect the company’s ability to exploit Tar Sands (Soderbergh et al., 2007).

Bouncing Profits
Category : Profits, Trade, Stock Price, Mergers, Acquisitions, Demergers

BP plc have been suffering from the knock-on ripples from the economic meltdown (BBC News, 2010b), and could be expecting major impacts to their bottom line in the next decade. However, although they have taken steps to de-merger non-profitmaking business units, they have also been scaling back on their Renewable Energy technology business (Brighter Energy, 2010), which could hold back or suppress their future financial performance.

Beckoning Paradigm
Category : Renewable Energy Technology

The future of energy is green. There is no other alternative. The bulk of today’s energy is derived from the burning of fossil fuels, and this has to be curtailed and curbed (Merchant, 2009). For this reason, it is surprising to discover that BP plc are only investing 5% of their capital expenditure on Renewable Energy technologies (BP, 2009c, p. 2 “Why is only around 5% of BP’s capital investment in alternative energy?”). There seems to be a fault of logic here, in that there is no vision of future diversification out of carbon, to protect BP’s market share in energy.

Boardroom Peril
Category : Strategy and Shake Ups

Between 1997 and 2007, BP plc was guided to a more Renewable-oriented paradigm by (Lord) John Browne (of Madingly), CEO. However, this strategy was almost completely abandoned when Browne was effectively deposed by what could be viewed as a fabricated scandal (Trefgarne, 2006), and Tony Hayward took the helm (Reinhardt and Hyman 2008). There have been redundancies in BP Solar, and no expansion of the commitment to fund Renewables. BP plc dropped the moniker “Beyond Petroleum” and drew back from BP Alternative Energy (AE) into its core business of Oil and Gas (Macalister, 2007b).

Beyond Petroleum
Category : Unconventional Fossil Fuel Resources (essentially Shale Gas and Tar (Oil) Sands)

In the last few years, BP plc have gone “beyond” petroleum in their quest to develop unconventional Fossil Fuels. There has been a massive expansion in the exploitation of Gas Shale in the United States, and it is hoped in the industry that this will extend to other countries (Hoyos, 2010b). However, the processes used for producing Natural Gas from Gas Shale have been questioned, as they may be responsible for toxicity to the water supplies and seismic activity (Mackenzie, 2010g). Both of these possibilities are undergoing investigation. There has been strong campaigning against the exploitation of Canadian Tar (Oil) Sands as being very toxic to local environments and causing high Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Edemariam, 2007).


Interpreting the Findings
This author finds evidence to suggest that BP plc is in a state of “collective denial” regarding some of the categories and context outlined above. This “cognitive dissonance” is caused by several discontinuities. A real and appreciable change is now visible in (a) the step up in global climate change policy; (b) evidence on hard limits to certain raw resources; and (c) the likelihood that the global economy has burst several bubbles, and is unlikely to grow uniformly in future. Evidence of a more personal, rational engagement with these very real issues from strategy-makers at BP plc could perhaps dislodge the foundations of the imagined “corporate psychopathy”. More research conducted by external consultants, working collaboratively with employees within BP plc, could shine a light on a route to a “collective consciousness” within the company. This would be a source of relief and trust-building to those, including large investors, who may be observing the company’s current trajectory with concern and disbelief.


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Trefgarne G., 2006. “Why is BP forcing Browne out?”. Daily Mail, [Internet], 25 July 2006. Available at: [Accessed 28 April 2010]

US DOE, 2009. “National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap”. United States of America, Department of Energy, [Internet], 4 June 2009, Draft. Available at:$file/AlgalBiofuels_Roadmap_7.pdf [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Victor D. G. and House J. C., 2006. “BP’s emissions trading system”. Energy Policy, Volume 34, Issue 15, October 2006, pp. 2100-2112. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Wikipedia, 2010. “BP”. Encyclopedia article, [Internet]. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Appendix 1

Online Resources

Here is a list of the most significant Internet resources used as data for this Case Study, that are not already cited as references. Some are newspaper articles, some the products of expert research. Only some of the many newspaper articles are listed, particularly as any one story can be repeated on multiple channels and by multiple organisations.

The resources were allocated a category, and the Data Analysis in the Case Study follows these sections.

The collection of these resources was started in Spring 2010.

Biological Phytofuels
Category : Alternative Fuels

Addison J., 2010. “Fuel from Algae – Challenges do not Stop Big Bucks”. Clean Fleet Report, [Internet], 2 March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Business Week, 2007. “Food vs. Fuel”., [Internet], 5 February 2007. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Murray J., 2009. “BP ploughs $10m into algae biofuel research partnership : Partnership with Martek Biosciences to focus on new techniques for converting sugar into biodiesel”., [Internet], 14 August 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

OneIndia, 2010. “New pressure-cooking technique converts algae into cheap biofuel”., [Internet], 23 April 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

PhysOrg, 2009. “New sources of biofuel to take pressure off traditional crops”., [Internet], 10 September 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

PLATFORM, 2010. “Say no to Shell’s slave sugar cane biofuel plans in Brazil”. Platform London, [Internet], 3 March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

PR Newswire, 2010. “Verenium and BP Extend Galaxy Joint Development Program”., [Internet], 1 March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

The Economist, 2009. “Craig’s Twist”., [Internet], 15 July 2009, Series “Biofuels from algae”. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Bold Pronouncements
Category : BP Public Speeches from Executives (and Articles)

Ahmed K., 2010. “Davos 2010: Oil industry faces 100m barrels-per-day ‘supply challenge'”. The Daily Telegraph, [Internet], 29 January 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

BP, 2010a. “Russia and the Energy World: Challenges of the new decade”., [Internet], 21 January 2010, speech by Tony Hayward CEO at the Academy of National Economy, Moscow. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

BP, 2010b. “The Challenge of Energy Security”., [Internet], 4 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

LBS, 2010. “Tony Hayward kicks off Business Leaders Series at London Business School : Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, talks to students, alumni and guests about the energy question”. London Business School, [Internet], 4 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Macalister T., 2010a. “BP chief hails American breakthrough in gas supplies from shale rocks”. The Guardian, [Internet], 28 January 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Pagnamenta R., 2010. “Davos: BP claims Iraq oil could rival Saudi Arabia”. The Times Online, [Internet], 28 January 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

UPI, 2010. “BP sees Iraq as oil leader by 2020” United Press Internetional, [Internet], 28 January 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Wynn G. and Hirschler B., 2010. “DAVOS-Shale gas is U.S. energy “game changer” -BP CEO : “Unconventional gas” has changed U.S. energy outlook -BP”. Reuters, [Internet], 28 January 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Between Phases
Category : Carbon Intensity (Natural Gas is cleaner than Coal)

Allan N., 2010. “Replacing Coal With Natural Gas”. The Atlantic, [Internet], 20 April 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Soraghan M., 2010a. “Don’t Risk ‘Clean Energy’ Future to Save Coal Jobs, Says BP’s CEO”. The New York Times, [Internet], 24 March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

US EPA, n.d. “Natural Gas: Electricity from Natural Gas”. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Backing Pricing
Category : Carbon Pricing (support for), Cap and Trade, Carbon Taxation

Balibouse D., 2009. “BP’s Hayward Says World Needs A Carbon Price”. Planet Ark, [Internet], 30 January 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Fowler T., 2010. “ConocoPhillips, BP back out of climate change alliance”. The Houston Chronicle, [Internet], 16 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Lamb L., 2010. “Cap and Trade no more? ConocoPhillips, BP and Caterpillar pull out of lobby group”. Current Green Blog, [Internet], 17 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Lewis B., 2009. “BP’s Hayward says world needs a carbon price”. Reuters, [Internet], 29 January 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Mackenzie K., 2010a. “The $64bn question about the climate bill”. Financial Times Energy Source, [Internet], 14 April 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

McNulty S., 2010b. “Shell stays in US Climate Action Partnership as others withdraw”. Financial Times Energy Source, [Internet], 18 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Morrison C., 2010. “Big Oil Pulls Out. Is It RIP for Cap and Trade?”. bNet, [Internet], 16 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Sherwell P., 2010. “Barack Obama’s climate change policy in crisis”. Daily Telegraph, [Internet], 20 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Behind Plan
Category : CCS – Carbon Capture and Storage

BBC News, 2010a. “Scottish Power wins carbon capture technology funding”., [Internet], 12 March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

BP, 2010c. “Carbon capture & storage”., [Internet]. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Biello D., 2009. “Enhanced Oil Recovery: How to Make Money from Carbon Capture and Storage Today”., [Internet], 9 April 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Carbon Capture Journal, 2008. “BP to pull out of UK CCS competition “., [Internet], 7 November 2008. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Cobb K., 2010. “Will Enhanced Oil Recovery Be An Oil Supply Savior?”., [Internet], 24 March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Shell, 2008. “Carbon Capture and Storage: An opportunity we can’t afford to lose”., [Internet], 29 October 2008. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Border Porosity
Category : CDM – Clean Development Mechanism

Bromby R., 2009. “All aboard the carbon bandwagon”. The Australian, [Internet], 21 October 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

CAN, 2006. “CCS in CDM: First Things First”. Climate Action Network, [Internet], Nairobi conference report, 2006. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Maduekwe O., 2010. “Nigeria: CDM Beacon of Hope to Gas Flare-Out”., [Internet], 14 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

TressCox Lawyers, 2009. “Carbon Price Risks: Naked or Covered?”., [Internet], 16 November 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Broken Promises
Category : Civil Society

Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific, 2008. “Multinational Corporations Lining Up To Profit From West Papua’s Resources : Down to Earth No. 76-77 May 2008”., [Internet], May 2008. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Colombia Solidarity Campaign, 2010. “Police assault BP oil workers in Colombia”., [Internet], April 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Down to Earth, 2006. “ADB to fund BP’s Tangguh gas project”., [Internet], February 2006. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Effendi R., 2010. “Pipe Dreams”. Photographic Exhibition & Book, Schilt Publishing, March 2010. See “BOOK”: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Mason R., 2010. “Kicking BP and Shell over the economics of Canada’s tar sands doesn’t add up”. Daily Telegraph, [Internet], 11 March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Sourcewatch, n.d. “BP”., [Internet]. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Vidal J., 2008. “Shattered illusions : When BP set out to build a £3.5bn natural gas plant in remote West Papua, local villagers hoped for a bright future. But all is not well”. The Guardian, [Internet], 19 March 2008. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Below Par
Category : Climate Change Impact

Environmental Leader, 2009. “BP Lowers Emissions by More Than Three Percent in 2008”., [Internet], 17 April 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Mackie P., 2002. “NEWS RELEASE: WRI welcomes major reductions of BP’s carbon emissions”. World Resources Institute, [Internet], 11 March 2002. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Seager A. and Bowers S., 2006. “BP attacked over CO2 emissions”. The Guardian, [Internet], 21 April 2006. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Blocked Pipes
Category : Hard to Reach

Arnott S., 2010. “BP buys into offshore Brazil with $7bn Devon Energy deal”. The Independent, [Internet], 12 March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

BP, 2009a. “Calls from the Deep Ocean”., [Internet], 3 December 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Dow Jones, 2009. “BP Makes “Giant” Oil Find In Deep U.S. Gulf Well”., [Internet], 2 September 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Hoyos C., 2010a. “The downside of offering a cheap oil deal to Iraq begins to sink in”. Financial Times, [Internet], 11 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Reed S., 2009. “What BP’s giant oil strike means : Gulf of Mexico discovery signals success of a high-risk, high-reward strategy”. Business Week, [Internet], 3 September 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

The Calgary Herald, 2010. “BP, Statoil eyeing Greenland oil”., [Internet], 18 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Blown Prospects
Category : Health and Safety in Engineering

Gumbel A. and Woolf M., 2003. “Beyond petroleum, or beyond the pale? BP left out in the cold”. The Independent, [Internet], 23 January 2003. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Milmo C., 2009. “BP suspends link with helicopter firm after crash”. The Independent, [Internet], 3 April 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010′

Pagnamenta R., 2010. “Pollution disaster as Deepwater Horizon oil rig sinks into sea”. The Times of London, [Internet], 23 April 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Polson J. and Swint B., 2010. “Twelve Oil-Rig Workers Missing After Vessel Blaze”., [Internet], 21 April 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Battling Publics
Category : Investor Concerns

Fortson D., 2010. “BP risks investor outrage at ‘dirty’ oil deal”. The Times of London, [Internet], 14 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Macalister T., 2010b. “British firms face onslaught from tar sands campaigners”. The Guardian, [Internet], 28 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Mackenzie K, 2010b. “How the majors see ‘business as usual’ on oil and climate”. Financial Times Energy Source, [Internet], 29 March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Marriott J., 2008. “BP and Shell: Rising Risks in Tar Sands Investments”. PLATFORM, [Internet], September 2008. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Mason R., 2010. “BP faces investor revolt over Canadian oil sands project”. Daily Telegraph, [Internet], 8 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Beyond Psychology
Category : Peak Demand, Peak Oil, Peak Fossil Fuels, Peak Natural Gas

Aleklett K., 2010. “Peak oil in Davos: Oh yes it is, oh no it isn’t.”. Association for the Study of Peak Oil, [Internet], 4 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Live Oil Prices, 2010. “BP says world oil use peak as low as 95M barrels per day”., [Internet], 5 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Mackenzie K., 2010c. “Does peak demand = peak supply?”. Financial Times Energy Source, [Internet], 8 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Mackenzie K., 2010d. “Are policymakers, economists and peak oilists starting to speak the same language?”. Financial Times Energy Source, [Internet], 21 April 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

The Guardian, 2010. “Energy minister will hold summit to calm rising fears over peak oil”., [Internet], 21 March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

The Independent, 2010. “Tony Hayward: Only a wide mix of energy types will provide for us in the future”., [Internet], 5 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Wighton D., 2010. “Green lining to cloud over oil”. The Times of London, [Internet], 12 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Bouncing Profits
Category : Profits, Trade, Stock Price, Mergers, Acquisitions, Demergers

Kaminska I., 2009. “Shell, BP, and the increasing cost of inventory”. Financial Times Alphaville, [Internet], 29 April 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Macalister T., 2009. “Shell and BP keen to buy into Tullow’s new oil find in Uganda”. The Guardian, [Internet], 26 August 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

NGO News Africa, 2009. “Ghana: BP battles Exxon Mobil over Ghana oilfield”., [Internet], 29 November 2009. Available at: [Accessed 21 April 2010]

Wardell J., 2010. “Oil industry faces difficult road ahead, with prices to remain constrained by spare capacity”. Taragana Business News, [Internet], 15 February 2010. Available at:

[Accessed 22 April 2010]

Warner J., 2009. “BP and Shell struggle to keep up with Exxon”. The Independent, [Internet], 30 April 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Beckoning Paradigm
Category : Renewable Energy Technology

API, 2010. “Companies Address Climate Change”. American Petroleum Institute, [Internet], 20 January 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Green Energy Reporter, 2010. “BP’s Tony Hayward Still Bullish on Renewables, Despite Evidence to the Contrary”., [Internet], 4 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Young T., 2009. “BP unveils plans for record-breaking grass biofuel plant”. Business Green, [Internet], 20 February 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Wang U., 2009. “BP Solar is Laying off 620, Outsourcing Panel Manufacturing”., [Internet], 31 March 2009. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Boardroom Peril
Category : Strategy and Shake Ups

BP, 2010e. “BP Outlines Plan To Improve Financial Performance While Growing Production Through 2020”., [Internet], 2 March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Crooks E., 2010. “BP’s strategy presentation: growth, cost cuts, biofuels, M&A and more”. Financial Times Energy Source, [Internet], 2 March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Environmental Leader, 2008. “BP Fuzzy On Future Alternative Energy Plans”., [Internet], 28 February 2008. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Macalister T., 2008. “BP goes back to petroleum”. The Guardian, [Internet], 21 February 2008. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Macalister T., 2010c. “Tony Hayward: BP’s straight-talking chief on evolution not revolution”. The Guardian, [Internet], 4 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Monbiot G., 2006. “Behind the spin, the oil giants are more dangerous than ever”. The Guardian, [Internet], 13 June 2006. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Beyond Petroleum
Category : Unconventional Fossil Fuel Resources (essentially Shale Gas and Tar (Oil) Sands)

Cohen D., 2010. “A Miracle In the Marcellus Shale?”. Energy Bulletin, [Internet], 19 April 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Dizard J., 2010. “The sleight of hand over shale gas costs”. Financial Times, [Internet], 21 March 2010. View in full by searching headline in Google:,dwp_uuid=d8e9ac2a-30dc-11da-ac1b-00000e2511c8.html [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Frohlich C. and Potter E., 2010. “Dallas-Fort Worth earthquakes coincident with activity associated with natural gas production”. The Leading Edge, [Internet], March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Honan E., 2010. “Water waste a kink in New York shale gas future”. Reuters, [Internet], 19 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Howell K., 2010. “Energy Industry Reps Greet House Fracking Probe With Shrug”. The New York Times, [Internet], 22 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Jolly D., 2008. “Europe starting search for shale gas”. The New York Times, [Internet], 22 August 2008. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Mackenzie K., 2010e. “Oil sands: Citi gives a tick for carbon costs, but a cross for emissions”. Financial Times Energy Source, [Internet], 15 April 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Potter County Natural Gas Task Force, 2010. “Public Sees Pros/Cons In Marcellus Shale Gas Industry”., [Internet], March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Rascoe A., 2010. “US House committee probes natgas drilling practice”. Reuters, [Internet], 18 February 2010. Available at : [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Soraghan M., 2010b. “Two Oil-Field Companies Acknowledge Fracking With Diesel”. The New York Times, [Internet], 19 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Stutz B., 2010. “A Controversial Drilling Practice Hits Roadblock in New York City”. Yale Environment 360, [Internet], 25 March 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Trading Markets, 2010. “Shale gas: government regulation may dampen major players’ interest”., [Internet], 15 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2010]

Worth J., 2009. “Up close and personal with BP’s boss”. New Internationalist Blog, 16 October 2009. Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2010]

Appendix 2a

Document : Fields of Enquiry

Date : 30 January 2010

Notes : These are broad, scoping questions that need to be refined for an interview with SD, CSR Director BP plc, scheduled for 5 February 2010

Question 1 : Personal Overview on CSR Implementation within BP Worldwide

Could you please give us your personal overview on the implementation of Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility within BP as a whole :-

(a) considering the wide geographical range and type of Energy projects,

(b) given the extensive human network in the company and

(c) in view of the different legal and political frameworks under which country units operate ?

Question 2 : View on how Economic Disturbance will Affect Resource Exploitation Choices

How do you see, personally, the recent Economic upheavals having an impact on BP’s Corporate Sustainability in its plans for exploiting various conventional and unconventional Oil & Gas resources :-

(a) in terms of demand projections,

(b) Carbon content of the mined fuel and

(c) its ability to fulfil various country contracts ?

Question 3 : View on Future Best Energy Resources

Please could you outline your personal reading of which Energy Resources will become most favoured in future decades to ensure a Sustainable Business for BP :-

(a) bearing in mind the extreme depths of current exploration of prospects,

(b) taking in the view that depletion is a reality in some Fossil Fuel fields,

(c) the lower Energy returns on the mining of unconventional fuels ?

Question 4 : Views on Carbon Control

What is your individual thinking about how BP is responding to the possible outcomes of Climate Change negotiations :-

(a) considering the imminent possibilities of a global Carbon pricing or market regime,

(b) how this will affect the company’s internal Carbon performance targets and

(c) how this will affect the company’s share of the Energy markets ?

Question 5 : Views on Diversifying out of Fossil Fuels

Could you please give us your individual reflections on BP’s Corporate Sustainability strategy to diversify out of Fossil Fuels :-

(a) given that there is global ambition to reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050,

(b) considering that Carbon Capture and Storage is slow in development,

(c) including the strong indications that conventional Fossil Fuel supply may peak by 2025 (for a variety of reasons) and

(d) given that global Energy demand continues to increase ?

Appendix 2b

Document : Prepared Questions

Date : 1 February 2010

Notes : These are the refinement of the original fields of enquiry, composed into short questions, and communicated via e-mail to SD, CSR Director, BP plc, ahead of the interview on 5 February 2010

Question 1. Please can you outline the strategy that BP is developing to manage the risks and opportunities of Climate Change ?

Question 2. How is BP engaging its staff in developing innovative solutions to tackle Climate Change ?

Question 3. What partnerships with other organisations does BP value in addressing environmental issues ?

Question 4. What methods are BP using to account for Carbon Emissions ?

Question 5. What does BP believe are the best fuels for the future, and why ?

Appendix 2c

Document : Interview with SD, CSR Director, BP plc
Student Team : Jo Abbess, KA, JT
Date : 5 February 2010, 09:00 am
Location : BP plc, Company Headquarters, 1 St James’s Square London
Important : This text is based on handwritten notes and is not an approved transcription of the interview. The handwritten notes were in longhand, not shorthand, and so abbreviations were made. Annotation : Square brackets are used to convey meaning where quotations are not certain. Square brackets are also used to included contextual additional information.

Acronyms : SD = SD JA = Jo ABBESS KA = KA JT = JT

[SD recommended before we came to the meeting that we should acquaint ourselves with BP company documents on the official website and with Media press reports on BP.]

SD warned that he could not give us more than an hour as he had another group of students to interview at 10:00 am.

He referred us to a speech given by Tony Hayward at the London Business School in the past week. He advised us that what Tony Hayward says is company policy.

“The Challenge of Energy Security” :-
He also referred us to a BBC Radio 4 interview (3 February 2010) with Tony Hayward, and the speech that Tony Hayward gave at the Davos Economic Forum.

“‘Unreasonable paranoia’ about gas supplies” :-

“Davos 2010: Oil industry faces 100m barrels-per-day ‘supply challenge'” :-

SD said that companies find themselves now in a place where they’re quite worried about scepticism in the population about Climate Change. “Is the science credible ?” was the question he put in the mouths of the population at large. SD also referred to a recent CNN survey of the past week or so, in which the public’s faith in Science and Scientists has dropped way down from the previous 70%.

JA : But that’s the people, not the decision makers.

SD : But the ordinary people get the politicians elected. If Climate Change measures are going to cost the population – politicians have to [pay attention to that]…”Enlightened leadership” is all very well but they have to face the electorate every five years. [There were a couple of off-the-record remarks] …Charities and Non-Governmental Organisations are getting worried about funding, and they are the ones promoting adherence to Climate Change policy.
JA : Is BP going to do any public education [on Climate Change] ?

SD : What is BP ?

JA : An oil company.

SD : What does BP do ?

JA : Oil and gas mining.
SD : We do have a schools programme. We do support environmental awareness. BP’s not here to make the population believe Climate Change is real. The first thing you should know about CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] is that there are a lot of stakeholders – shareholders, customers, employees… The shareholders expect us to make them a lot of money – for example Local Authority Pension Funds. Also when we go to governments they expect us to pay as much tax as possible. And then our responsibility to our employees… If you ask “responsible to whom ?” – you can’t please everybody. Are we going to educate people that we should go out of business ? No.

Question 1 : Please can you outline the strategy that BP is developing to manage the risks and opportunities of Climate Change ?

KA : CSR is relevant to upcoming challenges – Climate Change is a risk or an opportunity ?

SD : We were the first Oil and Gas company to acknowledge Climate Change was probably manmade – we have the biggest Alternative Energy business – in 2005 we committed $8 billion over 10 years [investment in Alternative Energy]. But also we have forced people to think about the cost of waste – forced them to think about how you price Carbon when assessing a project. To make energy savings – change the design – use a different engine. Also energy efficiency. Biofuels – there will probably be a requirement for Biofuels – that business is going to be here a long time. Then the fuel products that we offer. Twelve years ago we said Climate Change is real. (I joined the company 11 years ago). I’m proud that the company takes that position.

Question 2. How is BP engaging its staff in developing innovative solutions to tackle Climate Change ?

KA : [Asks about attitude-building amongst employees]

SD : Why should we educate our employees about Climate Change ?

KA : Climate Change is coming up – employees should come up with innovative solutions.

SD : The core products we provide are Oil and Gas. How can you innovate on that ? [No discussion on the subject of unconventional fossil fuels development]. We have recycling bins in here, if that’s what you’re asking. There are companies where there is [some benefit] to getting employees to innovate and improve their attitudes…[but not BP]

KA : [mentions the Interface company and their innovation to reduce energy use and waste]

SD : …Our [method] – we have an internal price for Carbon. The most sustainable way to embed [the price of Carbon] in processes. We have our “Environment and Social Practice” [BP Group Environment and Social Group Defined Practice for Major Projects, Major Exploration Projects, Non-Major Projects in Aquifer Areas and Acquisition Activities : mentioned as “draft” E&S GDP (Environment and Social Group Defined Practice) in the 2008 Sustainability Review; in 2009 Sustainability Review referred to as being integrated within the OMS Operating Management System.] We don’t leave it to chance – new projects go through that – considering all aspects such as water management and Greenhouse Gases. We are committed to the environment. We have to be.

KA : We chose BP as a market leader, green production ambassador [to their class]

SD : I will give you facts. You make the judgement. We are an honest company. We try to be. All I ask is that you are honest and fair.

KA : On leadership – do you consider yourselves as a leader in the UK – as the biggest company ?
JA : With your 100 year history [and corporate size], do you have good access to governments and other organisations ?

SD : [interpreting “access” as “granting access to resources”, rather than “access to policymakers”] That is the nature of the Oil and Gas business – there is a dependency on governments to give you access. We find a way to align to communities we go into. For example Trinidad [an aside about identifying with people]. BP could not stay in a country if the country did not get some kind of real benefit – for example in Trinidad – we developed a platform fabrication industry – and we spent less money in the supply chain outside the country, and brought investment to the country. Very successful. The fifth platform from it was cost-competitive – and of high quality. In Azerbaijan, the Government was struggling as it did not have experience of proper economic planning. They were getting some funds from BP for resources [lots]. We got some folks in to help with a macroeconomic programme – related to our business. They had vast taxes [from the exploited resources] and were asking – what do we do with it ?

KA : Can I refer to microfinance ?

SD : You can borrow from the Grameen concept, but it depends on where you find yourself. Forty percent (40%) of our assets are in the United States [of America] – so [our strategy] has to be relevant to the American context – or in the case of Iraq, the Iraq context – where we’ve got back in.

JA : [On developing good relationships with government – thinking how BP works in other arenas] You had your own internal Carbon Trading scheme and you were advising on the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Have you taken part in the United Nations processes ?

SD : We have views on CDM (the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism), but it is for governments to decide, not businesses. A state has all the responsibilities (for example on the issue of Human Rights). Our business is bigger than a state, but…

JA : Do you send a little BP delegation to governments to keep fields and countries open ?
SD : For example, in Colombia, our lease is about to be up. Do we hand it over or seek an extension ? We lobby accordingly. We don’t have a “hit squad”…

Question 3. What partnerships with other organisations does BP value in addressing environmental issues ?

JA : [Notes this does not include NGOs Non-Governmental Organisations. Asks considering for example steel manufacture – if competing for steel with the Wind Power industry – since relying on steel for a new Oil rig platform.]

SD : I expect the steel companies would go out of business if [international Climate Change regulators] place onerous responsibilities on steel manufacture. Steel is almost a commodity. When you buy your fuel do you ask if your fuel is environmentally friendly ? Competition ? We say we need so much steel, then get a contract, with a procurement strategy. As for our procurement strategies – we probably don’t do that as well as we could. We could use price in a more strategic way.

JT : The Environmental Defense Fund [that BP has been working with on its internal Carbon Trading scheme] is supporting Cap and Trade – are there any other NGOs [you are involved with] ?
SD : We are part of many industry associations, the API [American Petroleum Institute], CCAP [probably the Center for Clean Air Policy]. You use them as and when necessary. For example on the Waxman-Markey bill [US Congress and Senate] we asked to file a view as BP – difficult for us to hide behind an association. Associations have to reflect a diversity of views – and that goes to the lowest common denominator. We are too big – usually on our own to provide our position or advice. We may seek to advocate on our own. People look at you and expect you to have a view on everything (for example, education). [Humorous reference to previous question about education.]
KA : [Asks about Environment Management Strategies]

SD : Yes – all but one of our sites are ISO14001

Question 4. What methods are BP using to account for Carbon Emissions ?

JA : [Asks the question, and clarifies that it includes not only emissions internal to the operation of the business, but also emissions from the use of BP’s products.]
SD : Do you mean “well-to-wheels” analysis ? It depends on the scheme for accuracy of the accounting. It’s all voluntary at the moment – theoretical. Are we conscious of the outcomes of the products that we sell ? Yes. We do what we have to do but we do Biofuels as well.

Question 5. What does BP believe are the best fuels for the future, and why ?

SD : Oil and Gas will remain the mainstay of the “energy mix”. We’ve said that publicly. The fact is, given that developing countries will develop as rapidly as they can, fossil fuels will remain a factor. Renewable Energy will probably account for five to six percent (5% – 6%) by 2030 – so the real possibility [for emissions reductions] is for gas – the real transition – to a cleaner burning fuel [better than coal]. There are new resources such as Shale Gas – in the United States there is new technology [to exploit] the reservoirs of “tight gas” previously not accessible in the deposits. The new technology releases that – might affect other places [than America]. [There are a number of countries that have Gas Shale that could be exploited in the same way.]

JA : [Asks a question regarding the Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI) ] Don’t you have to put more energy in, to get the Shale Gas out ?

SD : [Misunderstanding the question] Of course we wouldn’t do it if we had to use more energy to extract the fuel than we got out of it !

JA : I meant the falling “return”. For example, about a 100 years ago, US Crude Oil extraction had a ratio of about 100:1, getting 100 as much energy out than was used to extract it. Now US Oil gives a return of about 30:1 and falling.
SD : [Still misunderstanding the concept somewhat and instead talking about money] The cost of supply is not simply down to the function of the technology. Yes, there has to be energy as an input, to make the fuel available to get to the market. Yes we are going into more challenging technologies. It’s like we assert – if you had an economic price of Carbon – all those sorts of issues would then become apparent – and Renewable Energy would become more competitive – it would help us all make rational decisions. The same argument can be used for Oil Sands (Tar Sands). Businesses will only invest in projects that are economically viable.
KA : [Asks about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)]

SD : In the term CSR, “Social” implies “Responsibility”. I will be gone by April of this year and my replacement will have a different job title “Social Policy and Sustainability”. Environmental issues should be integrated into company policy. Who chooses to be corporately irresponsible ? Our company practice is obeying the law (and we are exceeding that). It’s not the easiest task. We have a code of conduct. And we follow the American “corporate practices” Act. We maintain a standard higher than other companies. We are more exposed publicly. We do have more progressive practices. The era of Corporate Responsibility as an add-on is over. The entire company has to do it. The local community gets impacted, the environment gets impacted. Do your entire processes and make sure sustainable.

SD : [Moving to finish]
JA : Thank you for your time and help. It’s been good to hear from the inside.

SD : As an employee I’m quite proud of the fact that we moved from being philosophical about Climate Change to being pragmatic about it, to being responsive about it. Twelve years ago we said it was probably manmade. People try to say we’ve backed away from it, but it’s not true.

JA : [Asks about Solar Energy business]
SD : Most information is on the website. It’s a very difficult business to make money. We are moving the labour-intensive part actively out of this area of expertise [redundancies]. We haven’t backed out of the sector.


De-brief in a local café (without SD being present)

JA mentioned that BP seem to be more interested in accounting for money than for Carbon, judging by SD’s focus on “cost-effectiveness” and “competitiveness”, and that he didn’t address the increasing Carbon emissions from mining unconventional fuels.

JA mentioned that BP seem to be taking a “hands off” approach to education. JA pointed out that whenever BP plc hold a press interview they are doing “education” through the Media. JT expressed disappointment that BP was not actively pursuing a programme of education, considering BP want to be seen as “first and best”.

JA mentioned that BP plc’s strategy on growth may be important – and that by a process of de-mergers of some units, and other strategic mergers and acquisitions they may end up sharing a larger part of the Oil and Gas “pie”. So, even if there is a global contraction of Carbon Emissions, BP plc could still be growing, as it would have an increasing slice of the capped total. KA mentioned that Tony Hayward in his public speeches and reports had been “aggressive” about saying that problems with Oil and Gas supply are above ground, and that the company has not been open to criticism about problems below ground. There was discussion about the options for other forms of Biofuels, including Bioethanol, and giving as an example the promotion of CNG – Compressed Natural Gas in Pakistan, India and Brazil, which is progressively being sourced from anaerobic digestion and not fossil fuel Natural Gas.

There was some discussion about BP including Hydrogen production in their “Sustainability Review” being described as a “clean energy” technology. The mechanism they mention in their documents are that they are making hydrogen from fossil fuels, presumably from Natural Gas where the chain of chemical reactions would effectively be Methane plus Water gives Hydrogen plus Carbon Dioxide (CH4 + 2 H2O è 4 H2 + CO2). This is not a “clean” reaction if the Carbon Dioxide is not sequestered. However, BP’s Sustainability Review does not give a clear picture on how they intend to develop Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

Appendix 2d

Document : Follow-up Telephone Interview with SD
Date : 9 February 2010
Participating : Jo Abbess

Follow-up E-mail

Following on from the interview of 5 February 2010, further questions were put to SD by e-mail.

Question (a)
[In the interview] we asked if BP was encouraging its employees to innovate on Climate Change.
Your first answer was to ask a rhetorical question about oil and gas products, “How can you innovate on that ?”

While it is true that the basic products are not really amenable to innovation, as geology has taken care of that, the question is, I believe still relevant as regards unconventional and “alternative” sources of Energy.

Would BP be interested in innovative approaches from their employees towards optimising mining and production processes, for example, the way that gas shale is extracted ?
And given that Tony Hayward has said publicly that Renewables will not do the kind of production that has been made the subject of international targets :-
would it not be useful to open up the discussion on Green Energy innovation within the general workforce at BP to ascertain possible avenues for exploration and deployment of Renewables in particular ?

Question (b)
[In the interview] I asked you about the well-to-wheels question.

I know that Natural Gas is a cleaner-burning fuel than thick petroleum oils [that need refining], but I believe that that fact should be promoted alongside an assessment of how clean the processes are to get the Natural Gas out of the ground (for example, from gas shale formations).

Natural Gas has been traditionally a by-product of conventional oil mining. As gas gets more complicated to mine because it’s coming from other reserves, then higher emissions will result from their production.

Another example is Hydrogen, a very clean-burning fuel, but I read in the Sustainability Review of 2008 that BP is reforming Hydrogen from Fossil Fuels, which must have certain Greenhouse Gas implications in production.

I want to know whether BP is consistent in talking about Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the entire “lifecycle” of its business, from mining through to the customer end-use of the fuel.

Telephone Conversation

In response to these two further questions put by e-mail to him, SD requested that I call back at 2pm on Tuesday, which I did. He sounded as if he was in two minds about holding a conversation with me. I asked him if he was busy, if it was the wrong time, if he didn’t have the time to answer the questions I had put to him by e-mail. He said that he was preparing to go away and that he did not have much time. He said that the answers to our questions would be answered by the documents on BP’s website.

I asked him why BP was not increasing their Renewable Energy business. I said that, to be entirely open and honest, I had had short, undocumentable conversations with some former employees of BP Alternative Energy and some people who had been considering becoming employees of BP Alternative Energy and who had been…disappointed that the amount of Renewables was not higher. BP could do a lot more, but doesn’t.

SD replied quite forcefully, saying that “we spend 5% of capex each year on Renewables. We have said we will spend $8 billion in 10 years [and that’s what we’re doing]. We’re not disappointing anybody.”

“It’s a value proposition. Every dollar in capex spend has to compete effectively with a [project in an] oil country and a natural gas [project] in another part of the world…We need to have a strategy that rewards shareholders. Some would argue that we should spend less. And then there’s Biofuels… ”
I suggested that BP’s Biofuels investment has been mostly done through acquisition and not development – and there didn’t look like there would be any expansion.

I asked about whether he took into consideration that some Biofuels up to now were Carbon positive not negative. I said that even using non-food crops was problematic. I indicated that I know Biofuels will have a long future, but I suggested they would not have a large part of the Energy market. He said that Biofuels development was driven by policy. I said I knew that, but there are limits to the expansion of Biofuels because of the competition with food crops for land and water.

I put it to him that other options, like Biodiesel, Algae Diesel – show poor results from various reports over the industry. I suggested it was never going to be a big part of market share.

I asked about whether BP was doing analysis of the way the markets are changing, the trends.
He talked about relative costs of Renewables and conventionals, and I said that this argument was unhelpful because it is not comparing like with like [as Renewables need new, high levels of investment]. I claimed that over the mid-term, say 30 years, Renewables can out-compete because the fuel is free. Over that time, Fossil Fuel prices, supply and demand could be highly unstable. I said that I was surprised by the short-term timeframe for decisions – in the future, for Renewables, the fuel is free, so any producer not having to buy Fossil Fuels will face less risk.

SD expressed disquiet as he said he had volunteered to help with our research but that I seemed to have come with an agenda. He said I needed to have a theoretical framework. I said that I did not have an agenda, and that I am merely doing research. SD indicated that he did not think it seemed very academic. I suggested to him that I was sharing with him my assessment of what I’m seeing, as I am trying to understand the information.

SD said that he gets a lot of requests from students and that he could have turned us down as he does with others – telling them to refer to publicly available information and the corporate website.

He referred me to the speech given by Tony Hayward at the London Business School in the previous week – the US will never sell as much fuel as in 2007 – that supply, that demand will peak. That supply is a function of demand…
I said that that was Classical Economics theory, hinting that the price of Oil and Gas supplies will not respond in that simple way to demand if they are peaking.
I indicated that I didn’t want to be told that I have an agenda, when I’m just doing research. SD suggested that he found me the most confrontational and antagonistic in the groups he had seen – and that my approach was slightly inappropriate. I said that I must apologise if I came across as confrontational. I said that I am very grateful that he was offering his help. He said he didn’t want to have to feel that he was somehow there to defend things [about the company’s decisions].

I said that I was trying to find out if BP is taking into account future potential changes in their decision-making ? For example the possibilities of a global Carbon price, which Tony Hayward recommends. (SD said Tony Hayward doesn’t promote it, but does prefer it). If I were a shareholder, I would be somewhat concerned if the company did not pay some attention [to the risks of Peak Oil and Gas.]

If I were in BP, I would be concerned if I thought there were some potential repercussions on shareholders’ profits.

I said that I was not being critical, I just wanted to understand what BP was thinking, and what their agenda is.

I said I hoped I wasn’t being confrontational. I admitted that I could be seen as quite demanding. SD said that some corporate information and decision were just private – that’s not public information. What BP takes into consideration is not public information. “We try to be as transparent as we possibly can. Our website is transparent”. That I should look at the 2 or 3 speeches given recently from the CEO which should indicate thinking.

I said I was inquisitive. That these extra questions were for my own research. That my fellow students had other interests in BP that they were pursuing.

As for employee innovation, I said I wanted to know if employees’ advice and recommendation was filtering up ? That I had talked to various people and they were of the opinion that Renewables needed to be accentuated.

He said “What is your proof of that ? And how many people have you spoken to ?”

I said I knew that I hadn’t spoken to everyone, and that people outside an organisation have a tendency to give bad press.

SD said it would be fairly easy to challenge as an assertion – is it representative ?
I thanked him for his help again, and I said that we could only have a certain number of windows into BP and that I was grateful for his help.

I said that I had posted him some literature which I hoped he would find interesting, not as a bribe or a payment.
I said that if he did send any reply to the two questions I had posed by e-mail that I would be most grateful.
He sounded almost dismissive as we ended the conversation with his “Goodbye then”.
I think he may have been somewhat upset and regarded my questions as criticism. I hope he doesn’t feel that I was trying to attack him or create trouble for him. That was not my intention.

Although I owe no loyalty to him, I do owe him respect and that is what I attempted to show him.
I still have questions about BP and their future strategy for the sustainability of both their business and the environment.

Note : The Sustainability Review of 2008 mentions a global warming temperature increase of 2 to 3 degrees. This would be no mere “flicker” in the system, and yet BP do not seem to want to outline the implications.

Appendix 3

Civil Society : The Other Side of the Coin

Contrasting BP’s Official Documentation with Campaign and Activist Documentation

“Climate change and multinationals: A view from Colombia’s grassroots”
Frontline Latin America magazine
January – March 2010
page 14

World leaders in Copenhagen failed miserably to tackle climate changes, and, as Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales pointed out, the rich countries especially are still refusing to confront its structural causes in capitalism. Evo Morales has called for an international social movement conference on 22 April. Grass roots Colombian social movements confirm that multinational oil and mining companies have destroyed their environment, their human rights and social fabric.

Isaac Marin, a campesino leader from eastern Colombia, took part in a UK ‘Consciousness-raising Tour’ from 10 – 17 November 2009. Isaac’s first involvement had been with the National Association of Peasant Farmers ANUC-UR, holding several positions at the regional level. He is a founder member of the group COS-PACC, the Social Corporation for Community Advice and Capacity Building. COS-PACC works with community groups in Casanare in the eastern Andes, where BP started extracting oil in the early 1990s, throwing the region into a state of siege. As Isaac explained, “Harm is caused to communities in the oilfield area when BP attacks local council committees and peasant associations. The corporation does not permit the trade unionisation of its plants, and workers and local civic leaders have been stigmatised by BP as agitators and subversives, putting their lives in danger. Such tactics break up local organisations and discourage anyone from making just demands on the corporation. BP fund the Colombian Army’s 16th Brigade that is committing crimes against civilians in our areas, especially their assassination, and then dressing the corpses to pretend they were guerillas, the so-called ‘false positives’ scandal.” Isaac illustrated the environmental impacts of BP’s operations: “the corporation is responsible for harmful effects due to the high volumes of water used to pump out the underground oil, to land slippages on mountainsides, and to bad management of industrial water with mud and oil outflows poisoning local rivers and the species that inhabit them. More problems arise from permanent gas flaring. These issues demonstrate bad environmental management that damages the ecosystems of the Casanare plains and the Eastern cordillera.”

Isaac met with groups in Liverpool, Bristol, Brighton, Cambridge, Newcastle and London. In Bristol, Isaac participated in a panel as part of Environmental Justice Week. The Bristol discussion raised vital questions linking environmental justice with international solidarity. As Colombian communities struggle to defend their territories against corporate plunder, what can be done to build links with those affected by the seemingly unquenchable thirst for profit ? How can corporations like BP be made accountable ? And how do we connect our common concern to stop climate disaster with the issue of the global North’s ecological debt to the South ? The Cambridge Action Network responded positively to Isaac’s visit and decided to launch an active campaign. Within days they had organised a leafletting of the city’s Mill Road winter fair asking how can corporations like BP be made accountable, and have other activities planned (for more information contact email

COS-PACC continues in its long-term work with the communities and invites supporters to visit Colombia in July 2010. These are the links of solidarity between peoples taking action against the multinationals that we need to build on to save the planet.

Colombia Solidarity Campaign is affiliated to the European Network of Friendship and Solidarity with Colombia :-

“Colombia: stories that kill” :-

A timeline of BP’s involvement in Colombia :-

“What does Climate Justice look like ?”
Copenhagen & the Energy Crisis: The case of BP in Colombia Isaac Marin & Yasmine Brien, chaired by Alice Cutler of Trapese University of Bristol Wednesday 11th November 2009


[ NOTE : Colombia and Indonesia are also exploited for coal. ]

“Trouble in Paradise”
Information and campaign material from Speak, a Christian campaigning organisation

“bleeding papua”
Information and campaign material from Free West Papua

BP is developing a massive Natural Gas project in West Papua in the middle of a genocide… and they don’t want you to know about it.

Indonesia has illegally occupied West Papua for over 40 years… just like they did in East Timor.

Its brutal military have murdered over 100,000 West Papuans and raped, tortured and starved to death countless others.

Indonesia annexed West Papua by forcing 1,000 elders to ‘vote’ in favour… or else have their tongues cut out.

West Papuans don’t want to be Indonesian.

They just want to be free.

But the penalty for even raising the West Papuan flag is 15 years in jail.

[ Photograph from 2003 : The corpse of a Papuan independence leader displayed as a trophy by Indonesian troops with the text “These are the sort of people BP is happy to do business with”. ]

But on its webpages “Papua Overview” and “The Tangguh LNG Project in Papua”, BP wants to keep all of this secret.

BP only tells you “The legacy with the central government is complex” and “Challenges are posed by the operating environment” What is BP trying to hide ? Maybe operating in West Papua goes against BP’s “socially responsible” and “green” image ?

Is BP ashamed to tell you the truth ?

BP claims that it’s better than Rio Tinto (which runs one of the world’s biggest gold and copper mines in West Papua), because unlike Rio Tinto, it doesn’t pay money directly to the Indonesian military for so-called “protection”. But the millions of dollars from this project won’t go to ordinary Papuans… it will go to the Indonesian government. And Indonesia will use it to help pay for even more soldiers, tanks and hawk jets from the UK to kill even more Papuans.

West Papua needs you – get involved. Take action… Tell everyone what BP is doing in West Papua.

What the United Nations says about West Papua “A climate of fear undeniably prevails in West Papua”, Ms Hina Jilani, UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders, 28 January 2008

“At some police stations, for example in Wamena, West Papua, severe beatings were ongoing as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture conducted his visit”, Dr Manfred Nowak, 7 March 2008

Free West Papua Campaign :-

“We did not want to become Indonesian in 1969 and after so many years of Indonesian oppression we certainly do not want to be Indonesian now.” Benny Wenda, Free West Papua activist and musician.

“Trouble in Paradise : UK Arms : Fuelling Conflict, Aiding Oppression, Harming Development”

The island of New Guinea, 250km north of Australia, comprises the independent state of Papua New Guinea on one half and West Papua on the other. It is covered with tropical rainforest, home to many unique species of wildlife, and hugely rich in resources such as oil, gas, copper, gold and timber. Yet in this paradise the people of West Papua, are suffering terrible oppression under Indonesian rule. This situation of oppression has been maintained by ruthless military crackdowns on political activity in the area. Despite this, the UK has provided military support through arms sales to Indonesia over most of the last 30 years.”

A Timeline of BP in West Papua :-

Bringing Perspective : Appendix 4 Climate Change Impacts : BP, Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil : Inter-company Comparison

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