2 Feb 2009

Killing us softly with their words?

Corporate Europe Observatory / PLATFORM Press Release
Monday 2 February 2009
Immediate release

OIL GIANT ACCUSED OF STEERING EU ENERGY POLICY

Brussels/London - Oil industry lobbying at the heart of the EU has
left European member states vulnerable to energy shortages and has
undermined EU efforts to tackle climate change, according to a new
report published today (Monday 2 February) by Corporate Europe
Observatory and PLATFORM [1].

The report, "BP - Extracting Influence at the Heart of the EU"
highlights how BP has positioned itself at the centre of EU energy
policy, building high level contacts and persuading EU Commissioners,
officials and government ministers of a "shared agenda" in working
together. It follows news that former German Chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder is joining the board of BP's Russian venture [2].

BP has enjoyed high level EU support for its Russian venture, with the
EU increasingly dependent on Russian gas [3]. The company also played
a key role in developing the EU's emissions trading scheme, which is
now being promoted in the US [4].

But the research suggests that the EU's interests would have been
better-served, had BP's profit-driven agenda been shelved in favour of
less fashionable messages on energy efficiency and investments in
renewables.

James Marriott, a partner at PLATFORM said:
"BP has established an impressive Brussels power base, with key
figures strategically placed inside EU institutions. The result seems
to be that some within the EU think that what works for BP must be in
the best interests of the EU's citizens, but it is far from clear that
this is the case."

The report highlights how BP chairman Peter Sutherland simultaneously
acted as Commission President Jose Barroso's adviser on energy and
climate change from 2007 [5].

BP's chief executive of refining and marketing, Iain Conn, also played
a key role on the Commission's High Level Group (HLG) on
Competitiveness, Energy and the Environment, inputting on future
energy policy [6].

The oil giant also funds a team of Brussels lobbyists and works
through numerous industry bodies [7].

BP appears keen to downplay its lobbying activities. It recently
entered its lobbying interests on the Commission's register [8],
claiming that it spent just 200,000 - 250,000 euro on lobbying
activities in 2008. But campaigners say the estimate is ridiculously
low and reflects the inadequacy of the Commission's guidelines for the
voluntary register. In comparison, ExxonMobil declared expenditure of
900,000 - 950,000 euro for the same period, while Microsoft said it
spent 1,300,000 euro in 2008.

Corporate Europe Observatory campaigner Olivier Hoedeman said:
"BP's reach and influence show how powerful some corporations have
become within the EU. The EU Commission and member state governments
seem happy to sit back and let big business dictate their so-called
shared agenda, with little thought as to whether it is actually in the
public interest. To add insult to injury, the weakness of EU lobby
transparency rules means the public is still denied the right to know
which companies are influencing policy making or how much they are
spending on playing political games."

BP provided key advice to the EU on emissions trading, having already
established its own in-house scheme and advised on the UK-wide carbon
market. The company made substantial profits from both the UK scheme
and the first phase of the EU scheme - although neither delivered
significant reductions in emissions [9].

ENDS

Media contacts:
London - Benjamin Diss, Platform: +44 (0)794 1519 445
Brussels - Olivier Hoedeman, Corporate Europe Observatory: +32 (0) 25126646 /
+32 (0) 4 74486545


Notes:

[1] BP - Extracting influence at the heart of the EU,
http://www.corporateeurope.org/extractinginfluence.html

[2] Schroeder to join TNK-BP board, Financial Times, 15 January 2009,
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d639c878-e33c-11dd-a5cf-0000779fd2ac,print=yes.html

[3] BP and the Russian bear, case study from BP - Extracting influence
at the heart of the EU,
http://www.corporateeurope.org/docs/extracting_influence_russia.pdf

[4] EU urges US climate commitment,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7856120.stm

[5] DG Communication (2007) Rapid - Press Releases - EUROPA - World
renowned experts to advise President Barroso on energy and climate
change, 06 April 2007,
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/07/283

[6] European Commission (2005) Rapid - Press Releases - EUROPA -
Energy Environment Competitiveness - Commission Launches High Level
Group, Press release 24 February 2005,
"Stakeholders - Iain Conn - UK - Renewables Gas Petroleum - Executive
director of the BP Group, has responsibility for Europe"
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/226

[7] BP's Brussels office is on Rondpoint Schumann, adjacent to the EU
Commission.

[8] See:
https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/transparency/regrin/consultation/displaylobbyist.do?id=3394026642-58
and also:
http://www.alter-eu.org/en/system/files/publications/Commission+Register+Fails+Transparency+Test.pdf

[9] Putting the Fox in Charge of the Henhouse: How BP'S Emissions
Trading Scheme Was Sold To The EU,
http://www.corporateeurope.org/docs/extracting_influence_ets.pdf



See: http://www.corporateeurope.org
and Unravelling the Carbon Web at http://www.platformlondon.org for
more information.

----------
Media contacts:
London - Benjamin Diss, Platform: +44 (0)794 1519 445
Brussels - Olivier Hoedeman, Corporate Europe Observatory: +32 (0) 25126646 /
+32 (0) 4 74486545


PLATFORM,
7 Horselydown Lane,
Tower Bridge,
Bermondsey,
London, SE1 2LN.

+44 (0)20 7403 3738
http://www.platformlondon.org

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