25 July 2010

How not to win friends and influence people

You might have thought that BP would, as far as possible, be seeking to keep its head down, particularly in the light of the suspicion (apparently well-founded) that the UK Government was prepared to release Mr al-Megrahi (or at least transfer him to Libya) in return for BP being given access to the Libyan oilfields. Not a chance: The Independent reports:

The tortuous saga of BP, the Gulf of Mexico, the Lockerbie bombing and an America which feels itself badly wronged took another turn yesterday when it emerged that the oil company is about to start drilling at an even greater depth in, of all places, Libyan waters.

And, as that information was being absorbed, there came an announcement that Jack Straw, the former justice secretary, had declined an invitation to attend the upcoming US Senate hearing into possible links between BP and the release last August of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was convicted of the murder of 259 passengers on Pan Am Flight 103, and 11 Lockerbie residents. Megrahi, who was diagnosed with cancer, was put on a plane back to Tripoli after doctors said he had only three months to live.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is investigating allegations that the release, officially on compassionate grounds, was ordered in return for economic co-operation, including access to oil and gas fields. Tony Blair, former prime minister and "friend of Gaddafi", has also become embroiled in the affair.

No, BP announces its expansion into Libyan waters, thus waving a red rag to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Does BP not have PR advisers? Did nobody in the upper echelons think that it might be better to keep this under wraps for at least a couple of weeks, so that the proposals emerged in the dog-days of August when everyone that matters is on holiday?

At any rate, the episode lends succour to the proposition that the size of a company is in direct proportion to the stupidity of its management.

No comments: