BP blockaded by Greenpeace

BP’s St James Square headquarters has been blockaded with a series of containers, forcing the company to advise workers to stay home. The five containers, weighing about a tonne each and containing Greenpeace activists with supplies, have been placed across the building’s main entrances, and along with this action, a team of climbers with banners have effectively closed the offices.

For BP the protest is one in a long line that immediately identifies the oil major with climate change – something that the company itself acknowledges but is at pains to point out the development of alternative energy projects the company is involved in. For protesters, this is however too little too slow, with BP spending thirty times as much on developing new oil and gas fields than on alternative fuels.

Whether the action will make a difference is difficult to judge, but it does demonstrate the difficulty that any company has in making a transition. BP, like Shell, has attempted to make a smooth transition from one revenue source to another whilst keeping the shareholders happy, but finds itself potentially hit from both sides. If this will help BP move ‘beyond petroleum’ or entrench views that one might as well be ‘hanged for a sheep as a lamb’ – which appears to the be Exxon Mobile position - will be carefully watched by other companies contemplating the journey.

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