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How often has BP lied?

By Lauren | June 30, 2010

The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that the Interior Department has reportedly fined the U.S. unit of BP $5.2 million for submitting “false, inaccurate or misleading” reports regarding its energy production on Southern Ute Indian Tribal lands in Colorado. According to the Journal, the department alleges that tribal auditors found that BP reported incorrect royalty rates and prices, and inaccurately reported well production. Most troubling, the department alleges that BP promised repeatedly to correct its past errors but failed to do so, leading the department “to conclude that BP’s continued submission of erroneous reports was knowing or willful” according to Michael Bromwich, newly-appointed director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

No, this isn’t about the oil spill in the Gulf … which makes it all the more disturbing. Before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, BP routinely promoted itself as an ethical company concerned with the environment. If you believe that, it’s easier to see the Deepwater Horizon incident as a single, unfortunate accident. If BP routinely lies about its other energy production activities, however, its assurances about the Gulf spill becomes much less credible.

BP can challenge the department’s assessment through its internal hearing procedure. It will be interesting to see if the company chooses to fight, or simply to pay the fine and keep quiet. (After all, with billions in cleanup costs at stake in the Gulf, $5.2 million starts to look pretty paltry.) Failure to fight the fine might suggest that BP did, in fact, knowingly submit erroneous reports to Interior. And if the company has lied before, how credible are its assurances now that the Gulf oil spill will be cleaned up? We’ll have to wait and see.

To read the Journal article, click here.

Topics: business communications, Business Ethics, corporate responsibility, ethics, Risk Management | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “How often has BP lied?”

  1. James Pilant Says:
    July 2nd, 2010 at 6:36 am

    I’ve long considered BP a rogue company. They are notorious for the lack of maintenance on the Alaska pipeline. They have been heavily fined and are being sued by the families of the dead on the oil refinery explosion in 2004(?). They have also written what will certainly become one of the most famous memo’s in history: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-05-25/shocking-bp-memo-and-the-oil-spill-in-the-gulf/
    I literally thought it was joke, a satire, when I first saw it. I had to read the full article twice before I could wrap my mind around the concept that this was a “legitimate” corporate document.
    I forgot to mention they have had problems with stock market manipulations.
    James Pilant

    Read James’ entries on Pilant’s Business Ethics Blog

  2. Nancy Reece Says:
    July 3rd, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Integrity is making sure your actions match your words. There is mounting evidence that BP doesn’t have integrity. The key in creating a culture of ethics and integrity for any company is making sure the values you proclaim are practiced in every level of the organization. When you find a division that isn’t in line, accountability is key. Our society is drifting away from accountability as more and more people expect hypocrisy.

  3. Ethics Blogs Roundup July 3rd, 2010 « Pilant's Business Ethics Blog Says:
    July 4th, 2010 at 4:00 am

    [...] In Privatization, business ethics, ethics on July 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm Lauren Bloom has a post wondering how often British Petroleum has [...]

  4. Business Ethics Memo - Topic Research, Trends and Surveys Says:
    July 18th, 2010 at 11:34 am

    [...] one of the major U.S. … Read More RECOMMENDED BOOKS REVIEWS AND OPINIONS How often has BP lied? | The Business Ethics Blog reported this morning that the Interior Department has reportedly fined the U.S. unit of BP $5.2 [...]