Below are some of the major Envornmental and political disasters which BP has been involved in / responsible for. The list is by no means all inclusive but is enough to draw a super grim picture of the corporation's corruption!
In 1951, Iran's oil industry was nationalized with near-unanimous support of Iran's parliament in a bill introduced by Mossadegh who led the nationalist parliamentarian faction. Iran's oil had been controlled by the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), now known as BP. Popular discontent with the AIOC began in the late 1940s: a large segment of Iran's public and a number of politicians saw the company as exploitative and a vestige of British imperialism. Despite Mosaddegh's popular support, Britain was unwilling to negotiate its single most valuable foreign asset, and instigated a worldwide boycott of Iranian oil to pressure Iran economically. Initially, Britain mobilized its military to seize control of the Abadan oil refinery, the world's largest, but Prime Minister Clement Attlee opted instead to tighten the economic boycott while using Iranian agents to undermine Mosaddegh's government. With a change to more conservative governments in both Britain and the United States, Churchill and the U.S. Eisenhower administration decided to overthrow Iran's government though the predecessor U.S. Truman administration had opposed a coup. Classified documents show British intelligence officials played a pivotal role in initiating and planning the coup, and that Washington and London shared an interest in maintaining control over Iranian oil.
In December 1965, Britain's first oil rig, Sea Gem, capsized when two of the legs collapsed during an operation to move it to a new location. The oil rig had been hastily converted in an effort to quickly start drilling operations after the North Sea was opened for exploration. Thirteen crew members were killed. No hydrocarbons were released in the accident.
BP admitted that it had lobbied the British government to conclude a prisoner-transfer agreement which the Libyan government had wanted to secure the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing over Scotland, which killed 270 people. BP stated that it pressed for the conclusion of prisoner transfer agreement (PTA) amid fears that delays would damage its "commercial interests" and disrupt its £900 million offshore drilling operations in the region, but it denied claims that it had been involved in negotiations concerning the release of Megrahi.
The US Justice Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission accused BP Products North America Inc. (subsidiary of BP plc) and several BP traders with conspiring to raise the price of propane by seeking to corner the propane market in 2004. In 2006, one former trader pleaded guilty. In 2007, BP paid $303 million in restitution and fines as part of an agreement to defer prosecution.
In March 2005, the Texas City Refinery, one of the largest refineries owned then by BP, exploded causing 15 deaths, injuring 180 people and forcing thousands of nearby residents to remain sheltered in their homes. A 20-foot (6.1 m) 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 fallout from the accident clouded BP's corporate image because of the mismanagement at the plant. There had been several investigations of the disaster, the most recent being that from the US 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, the largest ever assessed under the Clean Air Act, and sentenced to three years probation.
On 30 October 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 appealed the fine.
In 2010, BP agreed to pay a settlement of $50.6 million for the safety violations that were not fixed after the explosion. In July 2012, the company agreed to pay $13 million to settle the new violations. At that time OSHA found "no imminent dangers" at the Texas plant. Thirty violations remain under discussion.
In March 2006, corrosion of a BP Exploration Alaska oil transit pipeline in Prudhoe Bay transporting oil to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline led to a five-day leak and the largest oil spill on Alaska's North Slope. According to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), a total of 212,252 US gallons (5,053.6 bbl; 803.46 m3) of oil was spilled, covering 2 acres (0.81 ha) of the North Slope. BP admitted that cost cutting measures had resulted in a lapse in monitoring and maintenance of the pipeline and the consequent leak. At the moment of the leak, pipeline inspection gauges (known as "pigs") had not been run through the pipeline since 1998. BP completed the clean-up of the spill by May 2006, including removal of contaminated gravel and vegetation, which was replaced with new material from the Arctic tundra.
Following the spill, the company was ordered by regulators to inspect the 35 kilometres (22 mi) of pipelines in Prudhoe Bay using "smart pigs". In late July 2006, the "smart pigs" monitoring the pipelines found 16 places where corrosion had thinned pipeline walls. A BP crew sent to inspect the pipe in early August discovered a leak and small spill, following which, BP announced that the eastern portion of the Alaskan field would be shut down for repairs on the pipeline, with approval from the Department of Transportation. The shutdown resulted 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 October 2006. In total, 23 barrels (3.7 m3) of oil were spilled and 176 barrels (28.0 m3) were "contained and recovered", according to ADEC. The spill was cleaned up and there was no impact upon wildlife.
After the shutdown, BP pledged to replace 26 kilometres (16 mi) of its Alaskan oil transit pipelines and the company completed work on the 16 miles (26 km) of new pipeline by the end of 2008. In November 2007, BP pled guilty to a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act and paid a $20 million fine for the March 2006 oil spill. There was no charge brought for the smaller spill in August 2006 due to BP's quick response and clean-up.
On 16 October 2007, ADEC officials reported a "toxic spill" from a BP pipeline in Prudhoe Bay comprising 2,000 US gallons (7,600 l; 1,700 imp gal) of primarily methanol (methyl alcohol) mixed with crude oil and water, which spilled onto a gravel pad and frozen tundra pond
From January 2006 to January 2008, three workers were killed at the company's Texas City, Texas refinery in three separate accidents. In July 2006 a worker was crushed between a pipe stack and mechanical lift, in June 2007, a worker was electrocuted, and in January 2008, a worker was killed by a 500-pound piece of metal that came loose under high pressure and hit him.
Facing scrutiny after the Texas City Refinery explosion, two BP-owned refineries in Texas City, and Toledo, were responsible for 97% (829 of 851) of wilful safety violations by oil refiners between June 2007 and February 2010, as determined by inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary of labour at OSHA, said "The only thing you can conclude is that BP has a serious, systemic safety problem in their company."
BP has admitted that malfunctioning equipment lead to the release of over 530,000 pounds (240,000 kg) of chemicals into the air of Texas City and surrounding areas from 6 April to 16 May 2010. The leak included 17,000 pounds (7,700 kg) of benzene (a known carcinogen), 37,000 pounds (17,000 kg) of nitrogen oxides (which contribute to respiratory problems), and 186,000 pounds (84,000 kg) of carbon monoxide. In June 2012, over 50,000 Texas City residents joined a class-action suit against BP, alleging they got sick in 2010 from the 41-day emissions release from the refinery. Texas has also sued BP over the release of emissions. BP says the release harmed no one.
On 17 September 2008, a gas leak was discovered and one gas-injection well blown out in the area of the Central Azeri platform at the Azeri oilfield, a part of the Azeri–Chirag–Guneshli (ACG) project, in the Azerbaijan sector of Caspian Sea. The platform was shut down and the staff was evacuated. As the Western Azeri Platform was being powered by a cable from the Central Azeri Platform, it was also shut down. According to leaked US Embassy cables, BP had been "exceptionally circumspect in disseminating information" and revealed that BP thought the cause for the blowout was a bad cement job. The cables further said that some of BP's ACG partners complained that the company was so secretive that it was withholding information even from them. Production at the Western Azeri Platform resumed on 9 October 2008 and at the Central Azeri Platform in December 2008.
On 20 April 2010, the semi-submersible exploratory offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon located in the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico exploded after a blowout. After burning it sank two days later, killing 11 people, injuring 16 others, causing the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. Before the well was capped on 15 July 2010, an estimated 4.9 million barrels (780×103 m3) of oil was spilled and 1.8 million US gallons (6,800 m3) of Corexit dispersant was applied. The spill caused extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats and to the Gulf's fishing and tourism industries as well as human health impacts.
On 14 November 2012, BP and the Department of Justice reached a $4.0 billion settlement, the largest of its kind in US history. Under the settlement, BP agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of manslaughter, two misdemeanors, and a felony count of lying to Congress and agreed to four years of government monitoring of its safety practices and ethics. BP also paid a $525 million to settle civil charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it misled investors about the flow rate of oil from the well. As part of the announcement of the settlement, BP said it was increasing its reserve for costs and claims related to the spill to about $42 billion. On the same day, the US government filed criminal charges against three BP employees; two site managers were charged with manslaughter and negligence, and one former vice president with obstruction. The settlement did not resolve possible fines under the Clean Water Act, which could be as much as $21 billion. Near the end of November 2012, the U.S. Government temporarily banned BP from bidding any new federal contracts. In March 2013, Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu called on government to lift the ban.
According to bp's own website: BP has a clear strategy to grow exploration and production profitably through a portfolio of high quality properties including oil sands. Our objective is to match our upstream position in the oil sands with our downstream refining capacity."
One of the Energy Biosciences Institutes' main research areas is "Fossile Fuel Bioprocessing." According to the EBI's webpage: "In this program, scientists are using biology to develop ways of reaching oil and coal that expend less energy and release fewer greenhouse gases. For instance, biological processes might be used to coax oil from below ground or to alter the semi-porous rock that holds oil, making it flow to the surface. Making it easier to access hard-to-reach domestic oil reserves will help ensure that oil remains part of a diverse mix of energy choices."