Today, BP released quarterly profits of 4 billion pounds. For context, that amount of money could pay for installing solar panels on 625,000 UK houses1. Or 4,000 new wind turbines2. Or buying 2,7 billion Terry’s Chocolate Oranges🍊 if that’s your preferred resource allocation (that’s 39 chocolate oranges per person in the UK!)
But will BP invest significant amounts of their profits into renewable energy, help tackle the energy crisis or buy us Terry’s Chocolate Oranges? No. Because BP is the absolute worst. Here are four reasons why:
1. BP profits while the rest of us get poorer
This isn’t the first time recently that BP has made obscene profits. In the 2022 financial year, BP made record profits of 28 BILLION pounds3 (for context, about the same as the total GDP of Cambodia). Global gas prices have caused skyrocketing bills, meaning BP is raking in record profits whilst the rest of us face higher energy bills and millions of ordinary people and families in the UK are plunged into fuel poverty.
And because of a loophole in the current windfall tax, BP and other oil giants can get away with paying less tax if they invest more in new oil and gas! So not only do we get more climate-wrecking and unnecessary fossil fuels in the UK, BP also gets a nice tax break.
2. BP caused the worst oil spill in history
In 2010, BP’s oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. 11 workers died, and the resulting oil spill was the biggest ever in the history of oil spills, with 210 millions gallons of oil spreading out over 92,500 miles and reaching as far as beaches in Florida. The impact of the spill continues to this day and is still not fully known but killed enormous numbers of animals and permanently damaged fragile ecosystems.
And it’s far from the only environmental disaster BP has caused. In 2006, a hole in a BP pipeline in Alaska led to 267,000 gallons of oil spilling out into the surrounding tundra. In 2016, they spilled almost a hundred tonnes of oil into the North Sea, just 46 miles off the coast of Shetland. The list goes on and on.
3. BP is repeatedly linked to human rights abuses
BP regularly works closely with countries and regimes that repress citizens and violate human rights. It’s the largest foreign investor in and works in close cooperation with the dictator of Azerbaijan, a country where Amnesty International says “freedom of expression, assembly and association [remain] severely restricted as authorities carried out arbitrary arrests and politically motivated prosecutions of civil society activists”.
And the examples just keep coming. While exploring for oil in Colombia in the 1990s, BP paid millions to the Colombian army, the Ministry of Defence and private security in order to protect its assets there. While it’s been difficult to prove – in legal terms – that BP was complicit in the violence that led to the murder of 3,000 trade union activists and the disappearance of thousands more, there is no doubt that they benefited from it, with many of the victims being oil industry trade union leaders.4
4. BP is a world-class greenwasher
BP and other fossil fuel companies like to talk a lot about their role in the transition to green energy. But it is just that: talk. A study showed that BP used words like “climate,” “low-carbon” and “transition” more and more in communications, but this didn’t translate into any significant movement away from fossil fuels.5
And remember how a few years ago BP said they were rebranding themselves as Beyond Petroleum? Well, they’ve definitely not moved beyond petroleum yet, with plans to spend billions more on oil and gas than what they’ll spend on renewables this year.6 And with profits going up and up, they’ve unsurprisingly back-tracked on their already wildly insufficient plans to cut back on oil production.3 Why? Because they’re the absolute worst.
These are just four reasons. Trust us, there are many more. Help spread the word about how utterly terrible BP is – Share this blog post now!
1: ‘What Is the Cost of Solar Panels in the UK?’ | Greenmatch
2: ‘How much does a wind turbine cost?’ | Renewables First
3: ‘BP makes record profit in 2022, slows shift from oil’ | Reuters
4: ‘Bad Company – BP, human rights and corporate crimes’ | Culture Unstained
5: ‘Accusations of ‘greenwashing’ by big oil companies are well-founded, a new study finds’ | NPR
6: ‘BP criticised over plan to spend billions more on fossil fuels than green energy’ | The Guardian
🍊 Based on a Terry’s Chocolate Orange price of £1.49, current in Tesco as of 2 May 2023