PRESS RELEASE: Bank of England could buy BP bonds worth almost 900Mn as campaigners commemorate 10 years since the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster that devastated lives and environment

Press Release 20 Apr 2020 admin

Immediate release | 20.04.2020

For further information and media requests:

Contact: Kennedy Walker E: [email protected]

People from across the world commemorate the 10 years anniversary of BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill that took eleven lives and ruined thousands more with creative online action. 10 years on, communities are still fighting the deadly impact of big oil companies in the Gulf. Last week, the Bank of England published a list of bonds it can buy, this included bonds relating to BP that make up nearly £900Mn

On Monday 20th April 2010, an explosion took place on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform killing 11 rig workers. An estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico over the course of 87 days, ruining lives, livelihoods and ecosystems. BP was found “grossly negligent” for its role in the disaster, and was issued the largest corporate criminal fine in US history.

10 years on and a number of organisations around the world have come together to commemorate the day with a digital artistic action that involves people from around the world pouring a dark liquid into water. Those taking part are asked to count from 1 to 87; the number of days the oil spill went on.

Video of action // Facebook event// Tweet

A new report from Oceana titled “Lessons We Cannot Forget From The BP Disaster” found:

-BP Deepwater Horizon disaster had catastrophic impacts on Gulf ecosystems and economies, and many impacts are still felt today.

-Government regulators and the offshore oil and gas industry remain poorly suited to prevent and deal with the ongoing and significant risk for such a disaster to be repeated.

-The BP disaster directly reduced popular recreational activities — including boating, fishing and beach visits — between May 2010 and November 2011. This translated to a loss in the recreation industry of more than $500 million, with thousands losing jobs and livelihoods.

-A survey of nearly 2,600 Gulf Coast residents revealed a 25% increase in the medical diagnosis of depression since the rig explosion. Gulf residents who were directly exposed to oil were on average twice as likely to report new physical or mental health issues as those who were not.

-Find the full report here & a 10 mins video with testimonies here

Rob Noyes, a senior campaigner at climate justice organisation PLATFORM, who coordinated the commemoration alongside the group BP or Not BP, said:

“Last year, BP undertook their first global advertising campaign since the Deepwater Horizon tragedy – an act of sickening hypocrisy only continued by recent gestures toward a ‘net zero’ future. In truth, ten years later – the oil industry remains just as socially negligent as it was in 2010. In the gulf alone, there’s enough miles of pipeline to circle the earth.

“At a time of huge grief, we’ve coordinated this action today to commemorate the pain the industry bought communities across the gulf. Ten years on, with no lessons learned, we cannot prop up companies like BP – and we must disentangle their sordid, colonial roots from our society, through divestment and refusal of sponsorship”.

Imani Jacquelie Brown, an artist and researcher from New Orleans, and organiser of ‘Fossil Free Festival’, reflected on the disaster:

“The oil field known as the “Macondo Prospect” was named after the fictional town featured in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ novel, 100 Years of Solitude; in the fictional Macondo, an amnesiac population incapable of learning lessons from the past sat by as disasters were repeated generation after generation. Will we live out the legacy of the fictional Macondo, continuing business as usual as soon as the present crisis is out of the spotlight? Or will we finally see the bankruptcy of our present economic system and choose to prioritize human health and ecological sustainability over our truncated vision of economic solubility?”

Chris Garrard from Culture Unstained said:

“BP will see this 10-year anniversary as an opportunity to draw a line under its spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the ruling that it had been “grossly negligent” and the record-breaking fine it received as a result. But the lessons haven’t been learned. While communities and species are still feeling the impacts, BP is pushing ahead with more high-risk, deepwater drilling in the Gulf. With the oil price at a low, we should be calling time on this reckless pursuit of oil we can’t afford to burn and instead, setting in motion the just transition we so urgently need”.


Notes to Editors:

Tweets of action / More here

Platform combines art, activism, education, and research in one organisation. This approach enables us to create unique projects driven by the need for social and ecological justice.

Platform’s current campaigns focus on the social, economic and environmental impacts of the global oil industry. Our pioneering education courses, exhibitions, art events, and book projects promote radical new ideas that inspire change.

For further information and media requests:

Contact: Kennedy Walker E: [email protected]

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