Tuesday, August 22, 2006

BP's Problem: Political Correctness

Who wudda thunk it?

True, BP has been neglecting safety and maintenance for years, but the giant oil company's real problem is apparently that it has been distracted by political correctness, according to the Washington Times:
Global energy giant BP has been a leader of the so-called "corporate social responsibility" (CSR) movement. That's the concept pushed by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and environmental activists who want corporations to buy into -- and pay for -- solving every imagined problem on the planet that can claim to be caused by business activity.

In 2000, BP climbed onto the CSR bandwagon as company executives embarked on a public-relations campaign to show how environmentally sensitive they were. In the years since, BP has issued annual reports assessing its contributions to sustainability, diversity, inclusiveness and the like.

Two weeks ago, the campaign broke down. BP shut down its Prudhoe Bay oil field in Alaska's North Slope after discovering what a company press release called "unexpectedly severe corrosion" in the pipeline. The company says it will replace 73 percent of the Prudhoe Bay pipelines. The shutdown will cost the nation 8 percent of its output -- 400,000 barrels of oil a day -- at a time when consumer gas prices are hitting record highs and world oil prices are soaring.
So give up trying to make yourself a good guy and get back to just pumping oil before political correctness does to this country what Sadaam and Osama have failed to do:
Who would have guessed that the world's second-largest oil company would fail to maintain its own facilities? Unlike the Middle East or the Gulf of Mexico, Alaskan oil production hasn't been considered risky. There are no wars or hurricanes. But America's domestic energy supply is in jeopardy now because BP put the rhetoric of corporate social responsibility ahead of minding its own business -- literally.

BP should spent some of its advertising budget and corporate philanthropy on fixing its pipeline.