John Browne’s 1997 Stanford University Speech: The “Beyond Petroleum” Beginning (and beginning of the end of BP?)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 19, 2010 22 Comments

“Stephen H. Schneider, a climate researcher and Stanford professor who wrote the first popular book on global warming, said [that Browne’s] speech was a welcome change of direction for an industry that has, until now, denied that global warming is a problem. ‘They’re out of climate denial,’ Schneider said.”

– Quoted in Glennda Chui, “BP Official Takes Global Warming Seriously,” San Jose Mercury News, May 20, 1997, sec. A. 20.

Then BP CEO John Browne’s speech at Stanford University in May 1997 marked the beginning of the company’s “green” (or to critics, greenwashing) approach to product differentiation and corporate governance. Left environmentalists applauded heartily–and would continue to do so until the Deepwater Horizon accident of April 2010.

Browne’s speech began by begging the question and proceeded to a non sequitur.

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Deepwater Horizon at 11: Remember “Beyond Petroleum” BP

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 20, 2021 No Comments

“On the 11th anniversary of the BP blowout, the real takeaway is that oil companies that think they are ‘beyond petroleum’ are value destroyers for shareholders and for the environment.”

Every April commemorates BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill (April 10, 2010). To the anti-energy Left, Deepwater Horizon is the epitome of oil-gone-bad, coming some 21 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. It was not supposed to happen again, but ….

The sad facts of Deepwater Horizon will forever remain. The multiple failures behind the accident are also well documented. But a paradox remains. Mighty BP, captained by John Browne, the leading “environmentalist” of the petroleum industry created the corporate culture that resulted in lax safety and environmental protocols. By saving about $5 million out of $100+ million in drilling costs, the company ended up paying out in excess of $60 billion.

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Shell’s van Beurden Shames Oil and Gas

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 8, 2020 1 Comment

“If we believe that somehow the market is going to take care of this, that you put a price on carbon and everything will sort itself out, or that we can shame companies into doing it, then I think we’re kidding ourselves. This needs a very significant interventionist approach and all industries have to be part of the intervention.”

– Ben van Beurden, CEO, Royal Dutch Shell. Quoted in Akshat Rathi and Laura Hurst, “Look Who’s Talking About Zero Emissions.” (Bloomberg: June 9, 2020)

Enron’s Ken Lay. BP’s John Browne. Duke Energy’s James E. Rogers. T. Boone Pickens. GE’s Jeff Immelt. And now Shell’s Ben van Beurden.

Welcome to the swamp of political correctness when industry leaders morph into apologists for mineral energies and endorse open-ended government intervention for forced energy transformation from dense, reliable energies to dilute, intermittent ones.

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GE: Contra-Capitalism’s Toll (lightbulb unit sold)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 15, 2020 5 Comments

“In a reset economy, the government will be a regulator; and also an industry policy champion, a financier, and a key partner.” (Jeff Immelt, GE 2008 Annual Report, quoted here)

“What else can be said about how a destructive management philosophy–long warned against by classical liberals–drove a once iconic American company into the bog? Contra-capitalism destroys wealth, not only capitalism.” (below)

A May 27, 2020, piece at EnergyWire (E&E News) reported the latest of how errant leadership, political correctness, and cronyism diminished a once proud, iconic company.

“General Electric Co. cut one of the last remaining links to founder Thomas Edison, as the beleaguered manufacturer wrapped up a three-year process to sell its iconic lightbulb business,” reported Rick Clough. The buyer was the automated ‘smart home’ firm Savant Systems Inc.

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Lee Raymond, JP Morgan Win Climate Proxy Votes

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 26, 2020 1 Comment Continue Reading

Fossil-fuel BP vs. Fossil Fuels (a contra-capitalist company at work)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 30, 2020 1 Comment Continue Reading

“Execs’ Open Letter to 2020 Candidates Promotes Oil & Natural Gas”

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 26, 2020 5 Comments Continue Reading

‘Beyond Petroleum’ Now ‘Big Promises’ at BP

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 20, 2020 7 Comments Continue Reading

A Legacy of T. Boone Pickens: Political Capitalist

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 24, 2019 1 Comment Continue Reading

James E. Rogers (1947-2018): Political Capitalist

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- July 18, 2019 5 Comments Continue Reading