Chevron: another company that needs to go beyond oil

Posted by jamie — 22 September 2010 at 9:45am - Comments

As you probably know by now, the ship our climbers are currently sitting on is the Stena Carron, a 228m drill ship operated by US oil giant Chevron. Texaco, its petrol station subsidiary, is perhaps the name you may be more familiar with, but here are a few facts about the company that you might not know.

Chevron's boss, John S Watson, is a director and member of the executive committee of the American Petroleum Institute (API). The API is a major lobby group funding research which seeks to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change.

But API has also tried to co-opt the power of grassroots protest, funding seemingly-independent demonstrations against US climate change legislation. API funds a group called Energy Citizens - back in 2009, its boss Jack Gerard sent a memo to all the companies in the group urging their employees to join in the protests, with API pledged to pay for all the costs for getting people to and from these demonstrations.

This was astroturfing (or faking popular support) at its best - few were duped, but API continues to try and undermine genuine grassroots concern at climate change by bankrolling these counter protests.

As well as its involvement in hoodwinking people about climate change, here's a selection of the recent accidents and safety breaches that Chevron has been involved in, both in the UK and abroad:

Buncefield, UK: Along with Total, Chevron was one of the companies controlling Hertfordshire Oil Storage Limited. HSOL managed the Buncefield depot which exploded in December 2005, injuring 43 people and destroying nearby buildings. HSOL which was found guilty in June of serious breaches of health and safety rules which contributed to the explosion. 

North Sea, UK: Chevron was named as one of the companies which has committed serious safety breaches on North Sea rigs, after a freedom of information request forced the government to reveal which companies were involved in a report it produced in 2008.

Ecuador: Chevron is involved in a bitter lawsuit with Ecuadorian campaigners who are claiming damages for the impacts of oil exploration and extraction in the Amazon by Chevron's subsidiary, Texaco. If the campaigners are successful, the case could cost the company billions in compensation. 

Angola: The government of Angola fined Chevron for damage from its operations in 2002 - the first African country ever to do so with a multi-national - for a spill that polluted beaches and forced fishermen to stop work.

Canada: Chevron has been exploring for oil at record depths off Canada's Atlantic coast where, according to audit records, it did not keep promises to train workers to respond to an offshore oil spill.

More about Chevron's murky activities at:

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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