Sunday, August 1, 2010

British Petroleum for Dummies

Mommy, mommy, I made a spill.
--Clean that shit up.
What are you waiting for, son? This whole BP fiasco is causing me a gigantic migraine. It’s a loud lesson in how big corporate systems do one stupid thing and then that one stupid thing multiplies into a thousand stupid things.
But of course, before the stupid thing, there’s that huge exploitative thing. For British Petroleum that goes back to Iran 1908 when the British government, navigated by tycoon William Know D’arcy, thought it would be a brilliant idea to hoodwink the Iranian government for some oil.

Somehow (actually we know how: the bribery of three high ranking Iranian officials, faulty bookkeeping, and just the good ol’ European colonial spirit), the British made out with a deal that would only grant Iran 16% of the British’s oil profits from Iran mines.*
(* = remember the faulty bookkeeping? So it was more like under 10%)
Fast forward. The 2000s. BP execs say, “Let’s go green. Everybody else is doing it, so let’s do it, too. Let’s show everyone we can be environmental, too.”
Then the oil spills. Anywhere from 5,000 to 80,000 barrels a day (sounds like the overgeneralized description of an African-American perp…anywhere from 4’11’’ to 7’3’’ anyway). The company had 62 violations at its Ohio refinery alone this past March. Doesn’t take Nostradamus to forsee dark horizons.
But look on the bright side. There goes BP’s green logo: a cute seagull covered with slimy oil.
Then BP promises to pay. Meanwhile stocks are dropping $8 dollars a share and 60 million of those shares are being traded. So how that payment comes, I don’t know.
Then one bumbling fool steps down for another bumbling fool (am I being too harsh?). Stephen Colbert said it best, “Fox News has confirmed BP. C.E.O. Tony Hayward will step down. That’s right. Tony Hayward has been resigned. He’s looking forward to spending more time saying insensitive things to his family.”
I hope the new CEO Robert Dudley of BP gets it right for the sake of the environment, but at the same time it’s hard to root for a company that started off with the old fashion Western pillage.

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