Jesus - one tiny cock up and you are all over the news. What is the damned fuss about? It isn't as if BP haven't done this all before. Several times.
Founded in 1901, BP is the fourth largest company in the world. It was the first company to discover oil in the Middle East, in what is now Iran, and, in a stunningly farsighted and modern move which set corporate policy, slipped Winston Churchill 5 grand (roughly $50,000 in todays money) under the table for services rendered in granting BP monopoly rights to all oil production in Persia.
Taking your bribes since 1923
The name was changed to British Petroleum in 1954, after the company gave the CIA invaluable assistance with a regime change in the Iranian government. That'll teach the wogs to kick BP out of Iran.
In 1959 BP started operations in Alaska, with the blessings and connivance of the American government, where it has upheld it's fine track record of oil spills, pollution and environmental damage. Expansion into the North Sea, resulting in a near war between the UK and Norway, followed soon afterwards.
A new CEO. Same old business.
After making assloads of cash in the 70s, caused by the first OPEC fuel crisis, the BP board went on a buying spree, purchasing outright 27 smaller and 2 major oil companies.
The new rig design was rejected as being a bit too obvious. (picture from the Telegraph)
During this time there was some discussion about copying Shell and leaving the punitive corporate taxes of the UK, but wiser heads, who understood the Americans are actually serious about anti-trust legislation, prevailed.
BP maintains a pool of experts at cleaning up environmental messes - after $137million in fines since 2005 in the USA alone, they pretty much have to.
Keeping BP looking good. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.
Remember how quickly BP responded when their refinery tried to obliterate Texas City? They are getting better - this time around the spin doctors and lobbyists were at work before the Deepwater Horizon hit the ocean floor.
A mild bit of trouble.
BP's problems with oil rigs are nothing new. Back in 1988, they managed to severely damage an exploration rig in the North Sea. The cause of the accident was faulty maintanence of the well head equipment, but, since the rig was rented, BP only had to face corporate manslaughter charges for killing radio operator Timothy Williams. By forgetting to fucking evacuate him! How the FUCK do you forget the radio operator - you know, the one who actually called for help in the first place?
This is really not good.
The Texas City refinery explosion in 2005 killed 15 and injured 170 more. Through sheer fucking laziness in implementing safety laws. Sorry, we can't even joke about this. The only joke here is the Board of Directors. They kept their jobs.
Quick - cover it with snow before the inspectors get here!
In 2006, a BP pipeline sprang a couple of leaks in Prudhoe Bay, six months apart. Not terribly big leaks - a mere quarter of a million barrels escaped before the pipeline was fixed. The US Department of Law, Environmental Section seriously considers creating a section to just focus on BP. The CEO of BP retired a couple of years early - ostensibly to take responsibility for these two incidents. In fact he retired the day after he lost his injunction to prevent The Daily Mail exposing his private life. So, killing people and spilling oil is fine, admitting you are gay to the board is not.
Look - even the janitors are helping out!
The most recent example of gross incompetance and negligence out of the BP stable. After an explosion on April 20th, the Deepwater Horizon burned for 24 hours, then sank. BP is denying liability for the injured and dead as, you guessed it, the drilling platform and crew were leased. Handy little trick, that.
"I want my life back." So do the 11 dead guys.
The well, being uncapped, is shoving out oil at somewhere between 5000 and 100000 barrels per day. No one knows - BP will not allow independent scientists to verify the flow rate, citing concerns that it will delay capping. The capping that they still have not managed to completely achieve after working in some of the calmest waters in the world for 3 months and counting. The world press has, predictably, gone nuts.
Oiled birds. Always good copy
Of course, setting aside $32 billion for clean up money is going to have an impact. With great nobility, CEO Tony Hayward resigned his position and took the blame. He also took $20 million in retirement benefits and a sweet, do nothing job in TNK-BP, BP's Russian subsidiary, which accounts for 20% of BP's business. He pretty much had to; The new CEO of BP, Robert Dudley, has already been kicked out of Russia once.
BP gave up making political contributions in 2002, reallising that the $5 million they had spent in the USA since 1990 had a poor return on investment, and switched their funding into lobbying - it is far more effective to buy politicians than try to get sympathetic ones elected.
Greenpeace is crying with rage. Their perfect logo - on a fucking oil company
In order to generate some positive publicity, and secure new moneyspinners, BP has jumped onto the green energy bandwagon, sinking $1.5 billion into alternative energy - or just about 1% of their gross for the year. Included in alternative energy are both natural gas generators - which, the last time we checked with our grade school teacher, was a fossil fuel - and their carbon trading arm, which has fuck all to do with not polluting at all.
BP is the largest solar energy producer in the world. Rather than waste time and effort, they bought another company. For $45 million, or just over twice what they spent lobbying congress last year.
BP is also the proud holder of Greenpeace's first ever Greenwash Award. Nice going in a competative field!