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BP Exposed

In Culture of Corruption, Economic Justice, International Trade on August 9, 2006 at 10:23 am

Last night on the tv show “Last Comic Standing,” comedian Paul Rodriguez joked about the price of gas today, saying that it was effecting his love life by limiting him to women within a “five gallon radius.”  While that makes for a funny joke, the price of filling up your vehicle these days is no laughing matter.

Even less funny is the fact that companies like Exxon and British Petroleum (BP) are making record profits, while the average consumer struggles to pay at the pump.

According to Greg Palast of the Guardian/UK, this situation is no accident.

Yesterday he reported on the most recent price hike (due to the shutdown of corroded pipeline in Alaska) by saying:

“Years ago, I had the unhappy job of leading an investigation of British Petroleum’s management of the Alaska pipeline system…Even then, courageous government inspectors and pipeline workers were screaming about corrosion all through the pipeline. I say “courageous” because BP, which owns 46% of the pipe and is supposed to manage the system, had a habit of hunting down and destroying the careers of those who warn of pipeline problems.”

“Now let’s talk timing. BP’s suddenly discovered corrosion necessitating an emergency shut-down of the line is the same corrosion Dan Lawn [Government Inspector] has been screaming about for 15 years…Indeed, it’s pretty darn hard for BP to claim it is surprised to find corrosion this week when Lawn issued a damning report on corrosion right after a leak and spill were discovered on March 2 of this year…”

“Why shut the pipe now? The timing of a sudden inspection and fix of a decade-long problem has a suspicious smell. A precipitous shutdown in mid-summer, in the middle of Middle East war(s), is guaranteed to raise prices and reap monster profits for BP. The price of crude jumped $2.22 a barrel on the shutdown news to over $76. How lucky for BP which sells four million barrels of oil a day…”

“Enron Corporation was infamous for deliberately timing repairs to maximize profit. Would BP also manipulate the market in such a crude manner? Some US prosecutors think they did so in the US propane market. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) just six weeks ago charged the company with approving an Enron-style scheme to crank up the price of propane sold in poor rural communities in the US. One former BP exec has pleaded guilty. “

Companies like BP need to have these practices exposed.  Thanks to people like Greg Palast, we can continue to dig up the dirt and spread the word.  Read his entire article here.

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