Only in Brussels for 90 minutes, so not long enough to visit BP’s office on Rondpoint Schumann, adjacent to the European Commission.
This provides the company’s easy access for major EU lobbying of various EU institutions. BP — Extracting Influence at the heart of the EU, a report published earlier in 2009 by Corporate Europe Observatory and PLATFORM unmasked BP’s attempts to harness EU foreign policy and legislative power for its own benefit.
The report reveals the oil giant’s close relationship with decision makers and highlights how the company has convinced Commissioners and others that BP’s interests are in the EU’s interest – allowing it to promote profit-driven approaches to climate change through emissions trading. The company has also exploited the EU’s diplomatic muscle in Russia encouraging risky dependence on Russian gas.
Howard Chase, BP’s Head of European Affairs, chairs the Industry Advisory Panel of the Energy Charter, while BP Chairman Peter Sutherland chaired the Foreign Economic Relations Working Group at the European Roundtable of Industrialists. BPEurope’s efforts regularly pay off, with the European Commission and other EU institutions regularly intervening on behalf of the company. Arguments between BP management and Russian shareholders of TNK-BP led to several EUCommissioners pressuring Russian President Putin to make BP’s case.
BP Europe staff know their company well. Rather than relying on career lobbyists, BP rotate staff from their flagship producing regions into Brussels. One of the key BP figures in Azerbaijan responsible for creating the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field has been working for BP Europe the last few years.