More cash, but more gas too

BP was forced to defend its environmental policy last week after it admitted its production of greenhouse gases increased last year.

The world’s second-biggest quoted oil producer produced more than 85-million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2004, up from 83,4-million tonnes in the previous year, according to the company’s green report published last week. Its output was about twice that of Argentina and has been at these levels for roughly four years.

Lord Browne, the CE, denied that the company’s attempts to cut greenhouse gases had stalled. “We are not struggling, we are absolutely on track,’’ he said.

BP’s emissions are lower than those of industry bête noire ExxonMobil, the United States oil company that opposes the Kyoto treaty on climate change and last year caused an uproar by revealing a 2% increase in emissions to 135,6-million tonnes.

Although BP is more willing than most of its rivals to talk about climate change, its seeming inability to reduce its own levels of greenhouse gases has worried environmental campaigners.

“I would question whether the extent to which BP has reduced its emissions represents their actual ability to do it,’’ said Friends of the Earth campaigner Hannah Griffiths.
“BP makes a big song and dance about what they are doing but they could do a lot more.“BP also says it has increased its oil and gas extraction for the 12th consecutive year. How on earth is that compatible with its commitment to reducing climate change?’‘

It also said 11 employees and contractors died in accidents last year, compared with 20 in the previous year. Most deaths were in road accidents in the US, but since the report was produced 15 workers have been killed in an explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery.

The cause of the blast, which experts reckon could cost BP up to $1-billion, is still being investigated.

BP is currently enjoying record profits of about £9-billion — Â

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