Happy halloween!

31 October 2012

Dear All,It’s been a busy couple of months for us. We’ve put out two new briefings since our last newsletter – one on the oil industry’s hyping of the threat of piracy to obtain military subsidies, and the other on oil companies making payments to armed militant groups in the Niger Delta. We’ve also been looking at the activities of the oil industry lobbying for weaker safety regulations in the EU, and we’ve been involved in launching an anti-fracking campaign in Egypt.

There’s been a whole series of very positive reviews of our book The Oil Road, as well as a series of upcoming tour dates around the country talking  about the issues in the book. Finally, we have two new people starting in Platform in November, and we’re also using this newsletter to voice our support for the No Dash For Gas climate activists that are currently occupying the cooling towers of the West Burton gas fired power plant  in Nottinghamshire.

A Secret Subsidy – Oil Companies, the Navy and the Response to Piracy

British oil companies are promoting a ‘fight against piracy’ in order to get a vast hidden military subsidy. In the process they have amassed an unprecedented amount of influence over UK military policies. Oil companies have talked up the risk from piracy to justify the use of Navy frigates, drones and helicopters to protect corporate oil assets in the seas. They are demanding increased spending on military hardware at a time of major public cutbacks.

Read the briefing here. Read a comment piece that we published on the New Internationalist blog here.
Fuelling the Violence: Oil Companies and Armed Militancy in Nigeria

Shell and Chevron have funded armed militant groups in the volatile Niger Delta region of Nigeria since at least 2003, according to oil industry sources and US embassy cables. Both oil companies have also paid ‘protection’ money to other hostile groups for decades. Platform’s new briefing, as reported in the Daily Mail, details how oil company payments have had a serious impact on human rights and stability in the region, where an estimated 1,000 people died annually in the conflict.

Read the briefing here.

James Marriott, Emma Hughes & Guardian Energy Editor Terry Macalister at the The Oil Road event at the LRB Bookshop. Photo: Marsha Bradfield
The response to The Oil Road

It’s not often you get reviewed by both the Financial Times and the Socialist Worker. The Oil Road: Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London has been getting an incredible response from the press, blogs and activists alike. We’ve cobbled together a selection of the best quotes from reviews with links to  the full articles that you can check out here. There are a series of upcoming events as part of The Oil Road tour, including tomorrow night (Thurs) in London at the Woolfson & Tay Bookshop in London. Other dates include:

See our events page for more info.
Anti-fracking campaign launched in Egypt

Shell is bringing fracking to Egypt, threatening the North African country’s already scarce water resources by drilling in the western Desert. Concerned that the Nile and crucial aquifers will be poisoned, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), supported by Platform’s Mika Minio Paluello, has demanded an immediate moratorium and launched North Africa’s first anti-fracking campaign. Read more here.
Oil industry lobbying in the EU

The EU Parliament’s industry committee missed an opportunity earlier this month to make offshore oil drilling more safe and responsible. Writing in Open Democracy, Platform’s Anna Galkina investigates the UK MEPs who were involved in weakening important EU regulations at the behest of the oil industry. Read here.
New people in Platform

We’re really excited to announce that we have two new people starting with us in Platform in November. Farzana Khan, our new Shake! coordinator, has a background in community organising, politics, arts education, and social justice work with young people. Sarah Shoraka comes to us with ten years of campaign experience with Greenpeace and is taking over the oil, human rights and the Niger Delta work.

Photo: No Dash For Gas
Activists occupy power station to halt the ‘Dash for Gas’

At the time of writing, 11 climate activists have spent more than 50 hours occupying cooling towers in the first of 20 planned gas-fired power plants in the country, shutting down operations. You can read here why we think what they’re doing is important in stopping the UK from being locked into decades of dirty and increasing expensive fuel-source. You can also check out their own No Dash For Gas website and follow the ongoing occupation live on @NoDashForGas.

Platform joins CIWEM’s Arts & the Environment Network

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management’s AEN is known for their progressive views on the crucial role of the arts in environmental change. It’s groundbreaking for a non-arts specialist organisation to push forward this agenda and foster artists’ practice. The AEN also boldly took a position on BP’s sponsorship of Tate in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, calling it the ‘tyranny of oil patronage’. Upcoming in the next months is AEN’s new exciting manifesto “We Assert”. All in all, we are very happy to strengthen our relationship with them.

Platform in the press

Report claims Shell paid warlords and militants not to attack its pipelines in the Niger Delta – Daily Mail, 26/08/12

Notes From Underground – Financial Times, 21/09/12

Are oil and gas companies fracking up Egypt’s environment? – Egypt Independent 21/10/12

Book review: The Oil Road – Sunday Business Post, 26/10/12

Oil firms fib about pirates to get hidden hand-out – Morning Star, 26/10/12

Latest Blog Entries

Oil Road – reviews, interviews and analysis

Hobbling the ‘dash for gas’ – the West Burton occupation

BP partners with Rosneft, Russia’s top polluter – some backgroundBP partners with Rosneft, Russia’s top polluter – some background

Is it me or is he anti-BP? Check out the new Patrick Keiller @TateBritain

Bust-up between Aliyev and BP reveals corporate profiteering as Azeri oil peaks

National Gallery ends arms money – what it means for oil & the arts

This is about oil sponsorship, not corporate sponsorship, of the arts

Latest on Twitter

@kevhaldhokia: @PlatformLondon ThisLooks brilliant, right up my street; bought the book 2.. but I have exam this Friday 9am so can’t make Thurs Eve! #Damn

@tsuei: Looking forward to @PlatformLondon’s event this Thursday: “The Oil Road” bit.ly/TsDz5L #oil #BP #justice #environment

@greigaitken: Garlanded by BW Mail & FT alike, here, @EBRD, @ebrdcharles is one for your culture programme surely http://t.co/4CTjvr0a via @PlatformLondon

@platformlondon: “Striking…verges on the psychogeographical” – review of The Oil Road by Oliver Bullough in the Literary Review. pic.twitter.com/BtA2JX3d

@platformlondon: Financed emissions: A big problem for banks, and a bigger problem for the climate – bit.ly/TlDGcY via @ran

@starbuck: Nice post from @PlatformLondon about @nodashforgas currently occupying West Burton power station. bit.ly/SVg4Oj Power to the Tower!


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