Protesters shut down BP stations in London
Environmental campaigners shut down between 30 and 50 BP petrol stations in London on Tuesday in a protest against deep-sea drilling, as the oil giant appointed a new chief executive, both sides said.
The Greenpeace demonstration in central London was timed to coincide with the announcement that Bob Dudley would replace Tony Hayward at the helm of BP, as the group posted record losses caused by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Hayward was heavily criticised over his handling of the spill, sparked by an explosion at a deep-water drilling rig in April.
"Bob Dudley should overturn current plans to extract oil from risky deep-water wells off Libya and in the Arctic, where a spill could have consequences even more devastating than in the Gulf, as well as from the tar sands of Canada," said Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo.
"A change in leadership is a key opportunity for BP to cut its losses in more ways than one, by turning away from high-cost and environmentally reckless sources of oil, like deepwater drilling and Canadian tar sands, towards an energy revolution based on clean energy sources."
Greenpeace claimed to have closed 50 BP stations in central London, using a shut-off switch to stop the flow of fuel at each location and then removing the switches so they could not be turned on again.
Activists put up signs outside saying: "Closed. Moving beyond petroleum."
Beyond Petroleum is the slogan introduced when BP was rebranded in 2001 to appear more environmentally friendly.
A BP spokesman confirmed the protest, although he put the number of sites closed at "about 30".
"They've taken a rather important piece of safety equipment from the petrol stations so therefore they have closed down," he told AFP.
"These acts show a total disregard for the safety of motorists and staff at those sites," he said, adding: "As soon as we can safely reopen the sites we will do."
© 2010 AFP