The Sovereign State of BP - Down for the Count?

Michael Collins

British Petroleum has operated as though it were a sovereign state since its inception. When they blew the well at their Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, it never occurred to them that they would have to take orders from anybody. But that may change largely due to their inability to stop the flow of oil after nearly sixty days of gushing.

President Obama was clear in his speech last night. If any entity is going down as a result of the catastrophe, it will be BP. Today, Obama meets with BP's Chairman of the Board, Carl-Henric Svanberg, and the man he told the chairman to fire, Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward.

Two sovereign states will collide. The outcome is a foregone conclusion.

BP's Global Reign

British Petroleum began under another name in the oil rich section of Iran. Britain's William Knox D'Arcy convinced Iran's leader to grant an exclusive concession for the tidy sum of £20,000 in 1901 ($16 million current). BP grew on Iran, infecting its politics and economy to assure that the flow of oil never stopped.

By 1953, Iran's new democracy had a movement and leader that lost tolerance for BP's strangle hold on Iranian oil. The government nationalized BP assets. Undeterred by the will of the Iranian people, the company was the beneficiary of the British secret service-CIA staged Operation Ajax; a not-so-covert plan that deposed Iran's duly elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, and installed a puppet regime.

Iran's emerging democracy was assassinated in the service of BP oil assets and income.

There was just one hitch in the post-coup arrangement with Iran. The Shah's government got 50% of the take and BP no longer had a monopoly. They had to share the concession with U.S. oil companies, thus ending their exclusive control of Iranian oil.

Mohammad-Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, the Shah, was firmly in power as Iran's King of Kings. The Shah had the glory but not the legs to survive. He was eventually deposed in 1979 by the Iranian Revolution.

It's fair to say that the 1953 coup to maintain BP interests in Iran authored the current chaos in that country and the threat that its thugish rulers pose to Iranian citizens and the rest of the world. It's no wonder that President Obama cited this coup and an outrage in his 2009 Cairo speech; a little contrition at the shared expense of the special relationship with the Great Britain.

BP Regents Meet the President of the United States

BP's chairman must have been shocked when President Obama first summoned him to the White House for today's meeting. He'd been so respectful of the company's prerogatives in handling the mess they created. By all rights, they should have had nothing to do with the fix. The created the problem in the first place. In addition, their record in two other major disasters in the past five years hardly qualified them to drill anywhere.

President Obama's options are vast. BP is drilling within what's called the exclusive economic zone of the United States. That zone extends 200 miles off shore for nations with coast lines. Operating within that zone requires observation of the controlling nation's rules and regulations. As weak as those safeguards may have been, they will be tightened to extract whatever political capital the administration may need.

The president is well within his bounds by national and international law to apply all the pressure he wants.

Feel the Heat

The rapid demise of the president's popularity and power has not escaped his attention, nor will it be tolerated by his team trained in hardball Chicago politics. It's one thing to foul up the Gulf of Mexico. It's another to threaten those who control the world's most valuable political franchise. But that's exactly what BP's arrogance and incompetence did.

The president doesn't need to cast off his corporate-friendly cloak to know what to do here. At the very least, BP must appear to go down. In reality, an ever more demanding public wants revenge, not just for BP's crimes, but for the collective looting of the Treasury by Wall Street and the big banks.

BP and it's senior management are useful scapegoats to mollify public discontent and satisfy the cries for justice, no matter how loosely related to that aim BP's punishment might be. Their stock is down, they face the loss of $20 billion to start, and the damage to their already poor reputation could make room for gains by U.S. oil giants. There is little love for BP among that group as evidenced by the scathing findings on BP's Texas explosion. The report was produced by a team headed by James Baker.

The public needs a villain. Since no one in power will take on the real villains, crony capitalism and Wall Street fraud, BP will have to do.

It should get ugly very soon. But BP will lose. They have to. There are much more important issues, however.

How much longer will the citizens of the United States have to tolerate a political system that is rigged to make winners of losers, install followers posing as leaders, and transfer wealth from nearly everyone to the those very few in gated communities. There's never a spill of any kind there that isn't cleaned up promptly.

END

This article may be reproduced in part or whole with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

Meta: 

Comments

Correction

BP dropped the name British Petroleum years ago when they merged with Amoco (at the time it became BP Amoco, to revert to just BP (NOT British Petroleum) a few years later).

But why should a dumb yank be expected to get the facts right?

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Touchy aren't we

I used the former name in the first two paragraphs because that's what it was called and BP throughout most of the article.

Whatever you call BP, it's a hideous company. From the colonial period through the present, it has been a pox upon any house that would have it as a guest.

Here's how they treat people. This is list of violations of worker safety from OSHA:

It is not, btw, Yanks versus the people of the UK. It's about predatory capitalism, crony capitalism, and a failure to regulate. Given BP's Texac City explosion and Prudhoe Bay, one wonders why the United States government allowed BP to stay in charge of the "fix" in the Gulf (or even drill there, for that matter).

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Corpoate Shareholder system for Looting

British Petroleum should serve to educate the American people and all corporate victims just how unworthy and incompetent corporate executives are to receive their unprecedented wealth of the last 30 years for their looting through the SHAREHOLDER SYSTEM that has shoved the American people down into the muck of limitless debt, penury and poor health.

Today's corporate executives serve an average 3 years it has been reported at any one company, often with no particular industry experience other than Wall Street SHARE MANIPULATION savvy.

Notice that BP and other giant oil company execs KNOW NOTHING about their own businesses. Talk about smoke and mirrors. How do they get into these positions? CRONYISM among the unholy ivy league globalist cartel and they understand stock market share manipulation PR.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Very well said

It used to be lawyers, now it's "finance people." Tony Hayward, the CEO, is a geologist, although obviously an incompetent one. How this company could be left in charge of the solution after they caused the problem is an ongoing question. That would be the equivalent of the government leaving the Wall Streeters in charge of fixing the financial crisis. Oh, wait... There is a certain consistency there.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Oil and Gas Lamebrains

Oil and Gas Lamebrains might be the term used to describe those who say they are in control of the BP blow out!
By Dwight Baker
June 15, 2010
Dbaker007@stx.rr.com

The Executive staff did a poor job finding out the facts before putting their seal of approval on the speech. One thing we have far more of the worlds oil than 2 percent. The Bakken shale in North Dakota rivals most of the oil finds in history. Now on the green note that has seemed to slip peoples minds---- to re-tool the automotive business and the high end trucking business and all the other shippers who use oil products for fuel would take 30 to 40 years and cost a kings fortune to do. Natural gas might be an answer for the large truck trailer shippers and for us to as long as pipelines were laid to the major markets to bring about the supply lines for consumers.

Getting some feed back after the President Speech looks as if the goal set out to save his Presidency and save our Gulf was missing.
Good intentions by the President and his staff showed through but the greater dimensions as mentioned were missing for one reason or another. The greater goals of stopping the oil and gas was not addressed head on and that is just what the American public wanted to hear.

Thus as in the title are those assigned the great job of getting this blow out plugged --- oil and gas lamebrains? I have no sympathy at all for folks who pretend to know and simply do not. Move over step out of the picture and let those who know oil and gas do the job at hand.

What many of us are too tired of the pundit political media hype type huckster's that spin and spin. And our poor citizens on the Gulf have had enough of them too, they are down to the earth working folks like some in Boston and they are tired of hearing this and that come out of the mouths of those who have no clue what to do and when.

I meant no harm to come to those I inferred rightly so that they had not the oil and gas common sense and reason to understand the simplicity of stopping all the oil.

But, some do and I am one of them an oil and gas engineer with the plan to stop the oil and gas in 3 to 4 days after the plan is adopted. It is appropriate to include that the plan has been passed around in the oval office, the boardroom of BP and most the media sources in the world. It is easy to see just google Tame Nature with overshot and there you will find the work of laying out the plan.

Now what can the American Public do? Learn about the TAME NATURE overshot plan to plug the blown out well then continue to publish that message so that many more will know. Contact me Dwight Baker dbaker007@stx.rr.com to receive a copy of the Plan FREE OF CHARGE

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Dwight Baker

Regardless of Thier Cash Flow They are Done

I read people stating how flush BP is well they are in an extremely demanding capital intensive business so they are probably always rolling debt over and over again and without that ability they will have to shrink. They can't shrink because their values are distorted right now so they can't get fair market for their assets.

They are screwed but they did it to themselves.

That mud that they wanted to save for the next well?

The most expensive mud ever made.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

THINGS SEEN THROUGH THE EYES

THINGS SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF THE BRITS
BY Dwight Baker
June 16, 2010
Dbaker007@stx.rr.com
http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE64U0OW20100616?feedType=nl&feedName...

MY TAKE

I am not surprised the Brits want to protect their meal ticket that BP has seen clear to do for them and many others for some time by paying huge dividends. Yet for some of them to call the Kettle Black is a far cry from being civil at this time. And because of that the article in Reuters offends me and maybe you too.

I have been a staunch advocate for the RIGHT and ONLY OIL and GAS SANE WAY to fix the blown out well and my record is clear about that. I have called to task BP many times and the same for the Obama Administration in total for their inane ---laying behind the log----way to allow the free press to wonder off in all kinds of directions for most of us did not have the low down and dirty laundry of the blow out.

I stepped higher than most and studied all I had at my disposal and read between the lines purging out the lies At the end of 400 hours I had finally arrived at my oil and gas engineering conclusion some time before May 13, 2010, when I sent BP Investors Relations my creative patent pending ideas called TAME NATURE with an overshot.

I later found out from friend in engineering oil and gas I missed the con that BP had going on for those who had ideas. The con was by using their PDF form to send the suggestions in it was for free gratis.

Thus I have stood behind my plans for they are the only way to fix the problem that is causing a deep rift between our British friends and us. Because of that seemed abyss I believe in the end the truth will separate the men from the boys. Meaning oil and gas --men early on in their basic training skills learned from the bottoms up know that all must respect Mother Nature or all will surely all die. But with a tear in my eye I remember hearing and reading of the calls that went out that night on the Deep Horizon as the men cried out to each other and the bosses this is going to kick our ass and Mother Nature did.
My GOD forbids such insane acts.

THE BRITS VIEW

BP executives, including Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, CEO Tony Hayward and BP U.S. boss Lamar McKay, were seen walking into the West Wing of the White House just before 10 a.m. ET for talks with Obama that were scheduled to last 20 minutes.

Looking serious, they barely glanced at photographers and camera crews recording their arrival. It was their first meeting with Obama since the start of the nearly two-month old crisis.

The meeting came a day after Obama, in a televised address to Americans Tuesday night, accused BP of recklessness and vowed to fight the spill "with everything we've got."

An April 20 explosion on an offshore rig owned by the British energy giant killed 11 workers and ruptured a deep-sea well. The ensuing spill has fouled 120 miles (190 km) of U.S. coastline, imperiled multibillion-dollar fishing and tourism industries and killed birds, sea turtles and dolphins.

Obama wants BP to establish an independently managed fund to guarantee it would cover the billions of dollars needed to clean up the 58-day-old spill and compensate affected individuals and businesses.
Setting the tone for what could be a strong message to BP, Obama said Tuesday he would tell BP to set aside "whatever resources are required" to compensate the workers and business owners harmed by the spill.

"And this fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent, third party," Obama said.

A LEVEL OF CERTAINTY

Prime Minister David Cameron said BP is eager to face its liabilities from the spill but it should not have to pay claims that were too far removed from the disaster.

Cameron is under intense domestic pressure to stand up for BP, which many Britons perceive is being treated too harshly by the U.S. administration to the detriment of British pension fun funds and other investors with big stakes in BP.

"I know from my conversations with BP that they want to play the fullest possible part in capping the well, in dealing with the clean-up, and yes, in paying compensation to the hotel owners and the fishermen and others who have suffered," Cameron said during a BBC radio phone-in program.

"While it's important that they pay reasonable claims, and BP accept this themselves, they do need a level a certainty, and this is BP's worry, that there won't be claims entertained that are three or four times removed from the oil spill."

BP said in a statement its executives looked forward to a constructive meeting. "We share the president's goal of shutting off the well as quickly as possible, cleaning up the oil and mitigating the impact," the company said.

James Guiang, senior portfolio manager at Millennium Global Natural Resources Fund, said BP needed to cut a deal with Obama. "Whenever you go up against a government, you're not going to win," he said.
BP STOCK Shares in BP, which have lost nearly half their value since the spill began, were down 1.2 percent in trading in London, under performing a flat European oil sector index. In New York, BP's U.S.-listed shares were down more than 4 percent.

The cost of insuring BP debt against default rose, with five-year credit default swaps hitting a record wide of 600 basis points, according to Market.

Rating agency Fitch downgraded BP's rating by six notches Tuesday. Dutch bank ING said it expected other agencies to follow suit.

A team of U.S. scientists raised their high-end estimate of the amount of crude oil flowing from BP's stricken well by 50 percent to between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels per day, the second major upward revision in less than a week.

(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Writing by Caren Bohan and Ross Colvin; Editing by Will Dunham)

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Dwight Baker

"small people" - BP Chair

While we can rip the oil industry to shreds for just ignoring safety, technology, cutting corners, ruining the environment (globally, not just this incident) and rest..

this is a non story! The reason is the BP chair is Swedish and clearly his English is rudimentary.

That's a simple translation problem, straight from Swedish to English. It doesn't mean small as Americans mean small, so of course instead of the focus on the global environmental issues, the economic issues, the pure hype BS on alternative fuels, all the while really not putting together plans to dominate globally in alt. energy, create jobs and the rest of all of this black tar nightmare..

once again the press will focus on a "non-event" event.

The reason I know this is I lived abroad and the literal small has a host of different translations in Swedish, one of which is small business, localities, regional economies.

In terms of foot in mouth though, BP just keeps stepping in it, but frankly I do not care about any of this crap or ridiculous hearings in Congress...

Those wells and that well just scare the shit out of me as do the relief wells.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

The hearings are just a charace

Although the Joe Barton (R-TX) kissing up to BP was a fun story. He made the remarks at the start of the hearing and, by the end, was issuing an apology. The part left out was probably this - his office got several hundred/thousand phone calls, many from his district, that just ripped him a new one. His Dallas-Ft. Worth area constituents must have been furious. The alternative explanation is that he was intellectually honest: he reflected on his statement, recognized the error, and corrected it.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

BP = (BP + Amoco + ARCO)

"Cameron is under intense domestic pressure to stand up for BP, which many Britons perceive is being treated too harshly by the U.S. administration to the detriment of British pension fun funds and other investors with big stakes in BP."

BP is a thoroughly domestic entity with 40 percent U.S. Shareholders and a pedigree of a Standard Oil (Amoco) background plus Atlantic Richfield.

There was little umbrage given to Texaco in the U.S. media when Texaco pillaged the Amazon rain forest and dodged liability in local courts. Same point with Exxon Valdez. But all three plundering companies got away with their crimes, Brit or U.S., the gold standard passport is petroleum.

So what is the real economic backdrop? Domestic oil production has been
increasing for some months and the Petroleum Republic likes to keep it that way. They will burn and pollute out of here just like the 80's, but only if we let them. I see little effective opposition.

At 80 thousand bpd, Deepwater Horizon is 1 percent of 7.5 million bpd domestic production. That speaks very loud. Trillions of dollars of oil reserves drown out any talk 'alternative energy.'

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Burton Leed

You are right

Then there is Shell, that bulwark of the progressive Netherlands, which has destroyed the Ogoni people in the Niger Delta, even stood by while an activist was hanged with others on trumped up charges.

The only way that BP or any of them lose their sovereignty is to cease to exist. Nationalize them all.

The alternative energy option is ignored in the "American Power Act." The act is written as though solar energy is useless. Amazing.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

public scolding today my 2 cents

Today's hearing on BP CEO is just another headline buzz for Congressional reps. It's AIG or BoA or whatever where absolutely nothing meaningful happened. No one lost their bonuses, no laws changed anything, nobody was really fired....

Instead of Goldman Sachs or the Credit Ratings Agencies, now it's BP.

it's just the same thing to make some headlines vs. actually do manage and reform the oil safety and regulatory infrastructure.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Robert - it's the Grand Kabuki

This is playing out as expected. BP appears to be taking a public whipping and they've had to fork over $20 bil. Pretty light punishment for what they've done. They still have the disaster in waiting, Atlantis. Will they change their ways? They didn't after Texas City and they didn't after Prudhoe Bay. They won't now, I suspect.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

either will Congress, either will this administration

It's a psycho world. Lawyers, lobbyists, "imaging", "messaging", the world is run on empty images, empty rhetoric, empty phrases. When it comes to managing, legislation, while they are some valiant fighters out there, we're out numbered.

I think of the money wasted on all of the above.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

CPI is Up Minus Core

Whenever inflation is raging they report minus the core, now they want to show deflation so they report with the core.

These stats are as skewed and useless as the unemployment stats. If we were actually in a state of deflation no one would be asking for rate increases would they?

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

worth looking at

I check out shadow stats, esp. on labor, but I'm unsure of the history, accuracy, in part because I have no idea how shadowstats is cranking their numbers or where they are getting everything, whereas if I dig in deep enough I can find the raw source and methods with the gov. stats.

There is a lot of statistics behind the scenes in government data, including seasonal adjustments, some questionable, such as the infamous birth/death model. That said, it's a not seasonally adjusted number and even worse, it's clear on U.S. population, the number of illegals, the number of foreign guest workers, the BLS/DOL is stuck in the stone age on what they count and do not. It's not realistic, they focus on numbers from the 1960's, ignoring today's global labor arbitrage and demographics are more dependent upon immigration status vs. ethnicity. They are also clearly ignoring other forms of work that are not W-2. Not saying they should not collect that too but they are missing so much data. They even miss layoffs...
and no one collects raw data on jobs being offshore outsourced or....how many jobs are being created by U.S. based MNCs...abroad instead of the U.S.

One of the worse is how only 48% of working people can even qualify for UI. All of this talk about extending UI, when it doesn't even address over 50% of the workforce....who are hurting!

We had, hopefully he'll post again, another guy tallying online real time data, which is also missing from a lot of government data collection methods.

But I'm personally cautious on most of this. I believe you have some federal workers behind the scenes, simply collecting data, it's not this huge plot to fake out the people, more they need to increase budgets and improve raw data collection methods.

I started writing these things up because I saw such crap "feel good buzz headines" in the press as well as seemingly a lot of writers plain getting it completely wrong. i.e. mixing seasonal and unseasonal adjustments, seeing a statistical adjustment vs. a structural change that is skewing the numbers...stuff like that.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Surface Oil Slicks 5 Feet Thick

A local man is in the GoM working with his own ROVs and seeing some incredible things.

This sounds as if the surface oil slicks are very deep themselves - like icebergs where a large portion of the oil is underwater.

CNN wanted Mr. Snyder’s ROVs “to go underwater to see if there was oil at depth.”

There was. “We saw the oil, it’s definitely down to 200 feet,” he said, and “there are underwater slicks several thousand feet down.”

Sunday was more of the same. “We were running and gunning,” he said, “going from spot to spot to get ROV’s in the water to get footage.”

At one point “we were out in a really big slick, two miles long and six miles wide, and at least

With the ROVs down sending up images, “you see these brown globules one quarter to half an inch thick. The water looks clear except there’s like this snow of brown stuff.”

The difference between the surface oil and the stuff underwater, he said, is that “the oil comes to the surface in a sheen, but underwater you can’t collect it or clean it out.”

“It’s not like Katrina,” he said. “You can rebuild houses, rebuild roads, but how do you rebuild a coral reef, the wetlands, the shrimping and fishing gounds?”

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

it sure seems like

Dispersant is a really bad idea. My impression is this is what is causing these underwater plumes and it sure seems like it would be easier to just try some of those oil vacuum cleaners on unbroken up blobs.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

I can't edit that post but I

I can't edit that post but I missed part of the quote so I'm adding it here.

At one point “we were out in a really big slick, two miles long and six miles wide, and at least five feet thick, with dispersants.”“

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

right

that's what I'm getting. The stuff is seriously toxic, banned in the U.K. and it's just breaking it up into these dime sized globs and then it doesn't float up. That doesn't sound too swell to me, esp. considering the other technologies I'm seeing pop up as collection methods. That vacuuming method is now deployed in a much smaller scale and it sure seems they could get a few tankers, closer to the source to vacuum too. i.e. easier to just plain get the stuff out of the water.

I've yet to hear any reason to the contrary (technical) as to why they just don't switch, unless this is "if you don't see it, you will be less pissed" PR mantra.

What do you mean you cannot edit your comment? You should be able to.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

20,000 barrel per day collected

I caught some of the hearings and as expected, pure useless theater between a lawyer-ed up CEO and our Congress.

Meanwhile, back at the disaster, I'm not sure what is going on. Matt Simmons, frankly I really wonder what his motivation is because it sounds just insane....but he's on Dylan Ratigan claiming the only solution is to nuke the well and how the entire well casing is destroyed. How can anyone know the condition of the casing, 18,000 feet below the ocean surface is news to me.

But the bottom line in believing relief wells are just the cats meow is correct...

so we get political puppet theater instead of more focus on the technical details, deploying better technologies, what about dispersants, what about more vacuum oil cleaners and what about the contingency plans for the relief wells...

But it sure seems over and over and over again, the containment clean up is lacking and over and over and over again, we seem to get the focus on anything but that.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.