14 Apr 2011

Protesters removed from BP meeting

Six protesters are ejected after trying to storm the stage at BP’s first annual general meeting since the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster last year, amid angry scenes outside the venue.

the explosion at BP's Deepwater Horizon rig (getty)

Another group of fishermen and women hit by the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster were denied entry to the meeting altogether. They say their livelihoods were destroyed by the oil spill that followed the explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 people and cost the company around $40bn.

A BP spokesman said the protesters excluded from the meeting – which included Diane Wilson who protested during then chief executive Tony Hayward’s evidence to a US Congressional committee hearing – were judged to be a threat to other shareholders.

Diane Wilson called on charges to be brought against Mr Hayward. “My community is dead. We’ve worked five generations there and now we’ve got a dead community. I’m angry, I’ve been angry a long time,” she said.

Byron Encalade, president of the Louisiana Oystermen Association, who is also at the meeting, said: “We were the first to feel the impact of the oil spill. I’m here because the claims process has failed the fishing communities along the coast.”

Read more: BP oil spill special report

He said the communities were realistic about what could be achieved by coming to the AGM, but said they wanted some kind of commitment from BP that the issue of delayed and unpaid claims would be looked into.

Outside the AGM, the GMB held a protest over BP’s “irresponsible” actions in the UK, where hundreds of workers say they have been “locked out” of the contract to build a new biofuels plant at Saltend, near Hull, after the project fell behind schedule.

Jimmy Skivington, GMB regional organiser from Middlesbrough, said the workers had been thrown on the “scrapheap” by BP.

“These people have suffered severe financial hardship,” he said.

“We ask BP to recognise these people have rights and get them back to work.”

Rosneft plan delayed

Meanwhile, BP and Russian’s Rosneft have extended the deadline for their planned £10bn share swap by a month.

It has been delayed by a dispute between BP and its local partners TNK-BP, Russia’s third-largest oil company, which says the venture breaches BP’s obligations with TNK.

The Rosneft plan would give BP access to potential vast new energy reserves in the Russian Arctic Circle, and is a key part of BP’s turnaround strategy.

BP and Rosneft have now extended the deadline for the share swap to 16 May.