Posts tagged ‘BP’

March 16, 2011

Libya and the politics of oil

Gene, in an aptly titled post ,”The anti-imperialism of boneheads“, writes:

At his 21stcenturymanifesto blog, the Communist Party of Britain’s Nick Wright has posted this devastating graphic argument against a no-fly zone in Libya.

A classic example of boneheaded anti-imperialism in purest form: Companies like BP lust after Libyan oil; therefore they must be pushing to overthrow the government which is supposedly blocking their access to it.

In fact, reports BloggingStocks:

The political turmoil in Libya must be chilling for BP as it could bring into limbo the future of the $900 million exploration and production agreement BP had signed with the Libya’s National Oil Company in 2007. The deal was BP’s single biggest exploration commitment at that time and gave BP the rights to explore 21,000 square miles onshore and offshore of Libya.

That is to say: the last damn thing BP wanted was a rebellion against a regime with which it signed a $900 million deal. And now that the rebellion is underway, the last damn thing BP wants is for it to succeed.

It would be bad for business.

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October 27, 2010

Big oil, the Arab lobby and the American right

0620covdcAmerican politics has always been dominated by special interest groups, including foreign interests. It is in the nature of its checks and balances democratic system and its deregulated economy.

A recent report by the Climate Action Network [pdf] shows how “BP and several other big European companies are funding the midterm election campaigns of Tea Party favourites who deny the existence of global warming or oppose Barack Obama’s energy agenda.” According to the Guardian, “80% of campaign donations from a number of major European firms were directed towards senators who blocked action on climate change. These included incumbents who have been embraced by the Tea Party such as Jim DeMint, a Republican from South Carolina, and the notorious climate change denier James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma.”

The report claims that

the companies, including BP, BASF, Bayer and Solvay, which are some of Europe’s biggest emitters, had collectively donated $240,200 to senators who blocked action on global warming – more even than the $217,000 the oil billionaires and Tea Party bankrollers, David and Charles Koch, have donated to Senate campaigns.

The biggest single donor was the German pharmaceutical company Bayer, which gave $108,100 to senators. BP made $25,000 in campaign donations, of which $18,000 went to senators who opposed action on climate change. Recipients of the European campaign donations included some of the biggest climate deniers in the Senate, such as Inhofe of Oklahoma, who has called global warming a hoax.

The foreign corporate interest in America’s midterms is not restricted to Europe. A report by ThinkProgress, operated by the Centre for American Progress, tracked donations to the Chamber of Commerce from a number of Indian and Middle Eastern oil coal and electricity companies.

Foreign interest does not stop with the elections. The Guardian reported earlier this year that a Belgian-based chemical company, Solvay, was behind a front group that is suing to strip the Obama administration of its powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Here are some of the foreign corporations funding the anti-climate change Chamber of Commerce, a major route of corporate donations to right-wing political candidates:

– Avantha Group, India (at least $7,500 in annual member dues): power plants

– The Bahrain Petroleum Company, Kingdom of Bahrain ($5,000): state-owned oil campany

– Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company, Kingdom of Bahrain ($5,000): state-owned oil company

– Essar Group, Mumbai, India ($7,500): oil & gas, coal power

– GMR, Bangalore, India ($15,000): coal power, mining

– Hinduja Group, London, UK ($15,000): the Gulf Oil group

– Jindal Power, New Delhi, India ($15,000): coal power

– Lahmeyer International, Frankfurt, Germany ($7,500): power plant engineering

– Punj Lloyd, Gurgaon, India ($15,000): offshore pipelines

– Reliance Industries, Mumbai, India ($15,000): oil and gas, petrochemicals

– SNC Lavalin, Montreal, Canada ($7,500): mining, power plant, and oil & gas engineering

– Tata Group, Mumbai, India ($15,000): power plants, oil & gas

– Walchandnagar Industries, Mumbai, India ($7,500): power plant, oil & gas engineering

– Welspun, Mumbai, India ($7,500): oil & gas exploration

Meanwhile, California is a key battle ground in the fight between Big Oil and American democracy. There, Proposition 23, to be voted on on November 2, will reverse 2006’s Proposition 32, the law that attempts to reverse global climate change. Writes Rebecca Solnit:

“According to data from the California Secretary of State’s office,” Kate Sheppard recently reported in Mother Jonesmagazine, “more than 98% of contributions to the pro-Prop. 23 campaign are from oil companies. Eighty-nine percent of the contributions come from out of state… Valero contributed $4 million, Tesoro gave $1.5 million, and a refinery owned by the notorious Kansas-based billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, of Koch Industries, kicked in another $1 million. Just last week, Houston-based Marathon oil contributed $500,000.”

Actually, Tesoro and Valero are headquartered out of state, but their refineries in California gave us 2.4 million pounds of toxic chemicals in our air and water last year, and they’d like to continue offering the citizens of my state these gifts that keep giving illness, death, and long-term environmental devastation without interference. The coming vote is not about protecting fancy places for upscale hikers — the stereotype used to portray environmentalism as a white-person’s luxury movement — it’s about air quality for inner-city people, especially those who live near refineries and harbors. This is the kind of environmental degradation that’s about childhood asthma and increased deaths from respiratory illness. In other words, Prop. 23 is part of a corporate war on the poor. A vote for Prop. 23 is a vote to turn the lungs of poor children into a snack for dinosaurs, to put it in bluntly Hollywood-ish terms.

June 7, 2010

News and analysis: mostly about oil

Birds killed as a result of oil from the Exxon...

Image via Wikipedia

In this edition, the BP oil spill and some more oil  spills, BP strike-breaking in Colombia, Tata in India, the Eurozone crisis, India’s gap between rich and poor and the crisis of consumerism.

read more »

May 12, 2010

Global news: The BP oil spill, paramilitary violence in Mexico, labour unrest in China

Oil rig explosion kills 11, leaves oil spill that can be seen from space

Eva Rowe’s parents were among the 15 who died that day in Texas City.

“A worker who actually worked at the plant collapsed to the floor crying, telling me he was so sorry that he couldn’t find my parents, that he’d been looking for them since the explosion happened. So then I knew,” she recalled.

“My parents were my best friends, they’re all I had. My life ended that day. BP ruined my life. It ended my life. That day I had to start all over.”

After several high-profile work accidents in the U.S. over the past several months, we are faced again with the tragic deaths of 11 workers on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. [READ THE REST]

The convoy after attack
On April 26, 2010, a convoy of some twenty militants and international observers was ambushed in Mexico. They were on their way to San Juan Copala, a village in the Sierra Mixteca region, to give support to the villagers in their resistance to the terrorism of a local paramilitary group. Their convoy was brutally ambushed by paramilitaries……

“So much misery, so much blood, so many dead, so many disappeared. What is happening in the Triqui region? What has happened in the communities? The convoy for Copala was stopped; they were young friends, they were brothers. Words were answered by bullets, but you cannot stop words.”
Manolo Pipas, Galician troubador, citizen of the world

On April 26, 2010, some twenty militants and international observers set off for San Juan Copala, a village of around 700 inhabitants located about 250 kilometers from the city of Oaxaca and belonging to the Triqui ethnic group who live in the Sierra Mixteca region. Arriving in Huajuapan de Leon, where the convoy spent the night, they distributed a text denouncing the paramilitary group UBISORT (Unidad de Bienstar Social de la Región Triqui, Unity of Social Wellbeing of the Triqui Region), which had maintained a state of siege against the village of San Juan Copala, controlling the comings and goings of its residents. [READ THE REST]

Chinese industrial relations news, April

8th: A man threw a bottle of ink at the famous portrait of Mao in Tiananmen Square, in an echo of the famous attack during the events of 1989.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/7565768/Chinese-protestor-throws-ink-at-portrait-of-Chairman-Mao.html
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peterfoster/100033058/an-incident-in-tiananmen/
12th: Former soldiers arrested after trying to present a petition to the Peoples Liberation Army HQ.
13th: Peasants in southern China clashed with police last month over an illegal land sale.
14th: For those that missed it, husunzi posted this article on resistance to development in Wuhan.
15th: Residents of Hangzhou forced an apology from local Party cadres over illegal evictions.
16th: Three internet activists jailed in China; hundreds protest courthouse

19th: Laid-off bank workers protest in Beijing
21st: Someone’s been given life for the Tonghua Steel strike last year during which a manager was killed
23rd: Villagers burn construction site, clash with police in land protest
26th: Violence erupts at Chinese dam eviction
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/TOE63R08S.htm
27th: Protest against a new road

[READ THE REST]

April 15, 2010

BIG OIL

NEWS:

Shareholders Press Big Oil for Risk Information [The Environment Report]

The major risks with tar sand include dealing with pollution, and with lawsuits from native tribes that live near the oil sands.

Several investors’ groups want four major oil companies to reveal the risks of getting oil from Canadian tar sands. Rebecca Williams reports shareholders will be considering this at BP’s general meeting this week.

[READ THE REST]

Think-tanks take oil money and use it to fund climate deniers [Jonathan Owen and Paul Bignell]

An orchestrated campaign is being waged against climate change science to undermine public acceptance of man-made global warming, environment experts claimed last night.

The attack against scientists supportive of the idea of man-made climate change has grown in ferocity since the leak of thousands of documents on the subject from the University of East Anglia (UEA) on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit last December.

Free-market, anti-climate change think-tanks such as the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in the US and the International Policy Network in the UK have received grants totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds from the multinational energy company ExxonMobil. Both organisations have funded international seminars pulling together climate change deniers from across the globe.

[READ THE REST]

Chinese Purchase of Oil Sands Stake Could Revalue Resource [OilPrice.com]

The acquisition of a 9% stake in the Syncrude oil sands venture by China’s Sinopec for $4.65 billion – substantially more than expected – could pave the way for a revaluation of Canada’s vast deposits of a resource that is environmentally controversial.

Canadian Oil Sands Trust, the biggest stakeholder in Syncrude with 36%, led energy stocks higher in Toronto Stock Exchange trading after the Chinese company paid a hefty premium for the stake held by ConocoPhillips. Part of the stock’s gain was due to relief that Canadian Oil Sands would not be selling new shares to acquire the stake itself.

The investment is the largest so far by a Chinese company in a North American energy project as China continues to scour the globe for energy resources.

[READ THE REST]

ANALYSIS:

Big Oil Does the Math, Proposes a New Tax on Itself [Chris Morrison]

// //

A snowflake may have just fallen in Hell: Several large oil companies, including Shell and BP, have reportedly helped design a new gas tax for the United States that would add a significant cost to fuel for consumers and businesses.

But as with every move from Big Oil, there’s a logical reason for the support. They consider the tax as the lesser of two evils: though it might slightly dent demand for fuel, a gas tax would probably be better for business than taking a hit at their refineries.

[READ THE REST]

COMMENT:

You Can’t Always Get What You Want [Matthew Philips]

President Obama’s March 30 decision to open up vast tracts of the Atlantic Ocean to oil and natural-gas exploration triggered the predictable range of responses: drilling advocates, including Republican lawmakers, offered tepid approval, while environmentalists complained. But lost amid the political debates—did Obama secure conservative Democrats’ support for energy legislation? Could Republicans still run on “Drill, Baby, Drill?”—was a question with more practical impact: What’s down there?

[READ THE REST]

Fox News: 4th Largest Owner of Shares is Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia: Will Big Oil Buy Our Next Election? [Julia Bodeeb]

Fox “news” is owned by the parent company News Corp. The four top shareholders of News Corp are the Murdoch family, Liberty Media, Fidelity Management & Research Company, and Prince Alwaleed bin Talan.

DC Bureau reports that Prince Alwaleed bin Talan, a nephew of the King of Saudi Arabia, “has personally donated huge amounts of money to the families of the Palestinian suicide bombers.” He also released a statement after 9/11 blaming the attacks on the U.S.: “not on the 15 airline hijackers from Saudi Arabia—but on the United States’ support of Israel.”

[READ THE REST]

April 11, 2010

NEWS: Police assault BP oil workers in colombia

Workers at the BP processing plant at Tauramena, part of the Cusiana oil field in Casanare, Colombia went on strike on 22 January 2010 for improved wages. It was the first such labour stoppage in 18 years. On 15 February the notorious ESMAD ‘anti-mutiny’ police brutally attacked the workers picket line and the local community with teargas and beatings, three workers were hospitalised. The workers are members of the national Oil Workers Union USO that has only been able to organise in BP plants in the last year.

[READ THE REST]

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