Greenpeace Disrupts BP Executive’s Speech to Oil Industry Conference


On Tuesday in London, protesters from Greenpeace briefly interrupted an address to the World National Oil Companies Congress by a BP executive. As my colleague Liz Robbins reported, Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive, was originally scheduled to deliver the speech, a keynote address to the congress, but was replaced by another executive from the oil company, Steve Westwell, on Monday.

A post on the conference’s blog explained:

Steve Westwell, BP’s chief of staff, came to give Tony’s presentation and answer questions. Mr. Westwell insisted that BP’s commitment to clean up the oil spill would last longer than the press interest in the story. The morning was briefly held up by two protesters but the attendees are looking forward to discussing how the industry will be working together in the future.

The Greenpeace activists appeared on stage just after Mr. Westwell said, “everyone here will recognize that the last two months have been extremely difficult for BP.”

On the Guardian’s Web site, Graeme Wearden and Julia Kollewe reported:

Before the protest, Hayward’s stand-in had apologized for the BP chief executive’s absence, saying: “He is genuinely sorry he couldn’t be here, especially with so many friends in the conference. But his schedule is under incredible pressure at the moment.”

Transocean, the operator of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which exploded on April 20 above BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, is sponsoring a “speed networking” event at the conference, scheduled to take place later on Tuesday.

Soon after that event comes a “Gala dinner and awards” ceremony. In a description of the dinner on the conference Web site, the organizers remind oil industry executives not to miss the awards ceremony:

Don’t forget to pack your tuxedos and gowns, as you definitely won’t want to miss the annual gala dinner and awards presentation on the evening of the 22nd June. Fine wine, exquisite food and the company of some of the greatest minds in the energy business will guarantee you a night packed with fun and networking at the highest level.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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