On July 1, 2009, the U.S. backed Iraqi government announced that BP (British Petroleum) and China National Petroleum Corp., had been awarded contracts to exploit Iraq’s al-Rumeila oil field – one of the largest oil fields in the world. In the past BP has attempted to rebrand itself as a “clean energy” company, going so far as to promote itself under the alternative name – Beyond Petroleum. CNN reports:
“Iraq did not say how much the BP-CNPC bid was worth. It runs for 20 years. (….) Iraq has some of the largest oil reserves in the world, with an estimated 115 billion barrels – tying Iran for second place, behind Saudi Arabia’s 264 billion barrels, according to estimates from the Energy Information Administration in the United States.”
Here it must be noted that in March of 2007, BP revealed it had donated $25 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to help pay for the museum’s expansion and renovation. This was followed by LACMA Director Michael Govan publicizing plans to erect a massive entry gate to the museum that will display the name – BP Grand Entrance. It was highly touted that giant solar panels will top the gate, providing the museum with some of its energy needs. Explaining why he decided to pursue British Petroleum as a major corporate backer of LACMA, Govan stated in a 2007 interview with the Los Angeles Times: “What was convincing to me was their commitment to sustainable energy.”
With BP now in charge of exploiting Iraq’s largest oil field, LACMA’s rationalizing taking money from a company committed “to sustainable energy” is as threadbare as the reasons behind the continuing U.S. military occupation of Iraq.