Saturday, 5 June 2010

Don't Take It Out On BP

It is irritating to hear President Obama using the words "British Petroleum" when he seeks to find someone to blame for the oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.   This version of the company name was dropped more than ten years ago when the company merged with the US oil giant Amoco, turning it into a transnational conglomerate.   It is having the effect of making Britain very unpopular in the States - quite unjustly.

The rig which caught fire and caused the leak is American-owned and Korean-built.   The Texan firm Halliburton, whose chairman was once Vice-President Dick Cheney, had a hand in it.   The well itself was not operated by BP, but by a sub-contractor, Transocean. The US Coast Guard was not exactly efficient in fighting the fire and the US government itself has responded in a way which many Americans consider "very poor".     BP is doing everything humanly possible to contain the leak, spending literally billions and working round the clock in an environment where no such operation has ever been attempted before.

It is tempting, if unbecoming, for the American President to try and find someone to blame, particularly what can be represented as a foreign company.   The truth is that this is an international environmental disaster, in which many people are involved.   To talk of criminal prosecutions is not helpful. 

BP contributes immeasurable sums in tax to our economy, and we should support them.

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