BP and ‘The biggest environmental crime in history’

Posted on December 19, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

BP, the British oil giant that pledged to move “Beyond Petroleum” by finding cleaner ways to produce fossil fuels, is being accused of abandoning its “green sheen” by investing nearly $1.5bn to extract oil from the Canadian wilderness using methods which environmentalists say are part of the “biggest global warming crime” in history…

BP is investing heavily in extracting so-called “oil sands” that lie beneath the Canadian province of Alberta and form the world’s second-largest proven oil reserves after Saudi Arabia. Despite production costs per barrel of 15 to 1 per barrel in Saudi Arabia,

“BP has done a very good job in recent years of promoting its green objectives. By jumping into tar sands extraction it is taking part in the biggest global warming crime ever seen and BP’s green sheen is gone.”

Producing crude oil from the tar sands – a heavy mixture of bitumen, water, sand and clay – found beneath more than 54,000 square miles of prime forest in northern Alberta – an area the size of England and Wales combined – generates up to four times more carbon dioxide, the principal global warming gas, than conventional drilling. The booming oil sands industry will produce 100 million tonnes of CO2 (equivalent to a fifth of the UK’s entire annual emissions) a year by 2012, ensuring that Canada will miss its emission targets under the Kyoto treaty, according to environmentalist activists.

“It takes about 29kg of CO2 to produce a barrel of oil conventionally. That figure can be as much 125kg for tar sands oil. It also has the potential to kill off or damage the vast forest wilderness, greater than the size of England and Wales, which forms part of the world’s biggest carbon sinks. For BP to be involved in this trade not only flies in the face of their rhetoric but in the era of climate change it should not be being developed at all. You cannot call yourself ‘Beyond Petroleum’ and involve yourself in tar sands extraction.” Mr Hudema said Greenpeace was planning a direct action campaign against BP, which could disrupt its activities as its starts construction work in Alberta next year.

Licenses have been issued by the Albertan government to extract 350 million cubic metres of water from the Athabasca River every year. But the water used in the extraction process, say campaigners, is so contaminated that it cannot be returned to the eco-system and must instead be stored in vast “tailings ponds” that cover up to 20 square miles and there is evidence of increased rates of cancer and multiple sclerosis in down-river communities.

David Schindler, professor of ecology at the University of Alberta, said: “Right now the big pressure is to get that money out of the ground, not to reclaim the landscape. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could see these pits from a satellite…”

Read more By Cahal Milmo VIA independent

(Picture from randsco.com-thanks)
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