Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Protests due at BP annual meeting

14 April 2011 Last updated at 02:55 GMT Crews fight the deadly fire aboard BP's Deepwater Horizon rig The rig exploded last April and sank off the coast of Louisiana, killing 11 workers BP could face a wave of protesters and angry shareholders at its first annual general meeting since a disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

It is almost one year since 11 workers were killed when a drilling rig leased by BP exploded, unleashing millions of barrels of oil.

Fishermen from the US are set to be among protesters at the AGM in London.

Meanwhile, BP is trying to save a £10bn alliance with the Russian state-owned oil company, Rosneft, from collapse.

The share swap deal would have resulted in both companies jointly exploiting potential vast new energy reserves in the Russian Arctic Circle.

It was a key part of BP's turnaround strategy and aimed at delivering future growth.

But it was put on hold after Russian partners in its current Russian joint venture won an injunction.

BP had until Thursday to complete the deal. If it is to be saved, they will need to secure more time.

The handling of the deal with the Russian oil company is likely to stir up anger at the AGM, already set to be a noisy, angry affair.

On top of shareholder ire over boardroom bonuses, some fishermen and women, whose livelihoods were affected by the oil spill on 20 April 2010, will be at the meeting as shareholders.

They will be joined by indigenous communities angry at BP's involvement in extracting tar sands - a heavily polluting form of oil - in Canada.

Outside, a protest is set to be staged by environmentalists, with more planned over the next week across London.

And workers involved in a dispute at a BP-owned biofuels plant near Hull will also demonstrate, some dressed as an oil slick, linking their row with the firm's behaviour in the Gulf.

They say they have been "locked out" of the contract to build the new plant at Saltend, near Hull, after the project fell behind schedule.

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