BP executives brace for a stormy meeting with shareholders

Scores of people plan to protest today at the oil firm's AGM

Annual general meetings are sometimes stormy affairs, but the tempest swirling around the London AGM of the oil giant BP this morning looks unprecedented.

At least half a dozen vociferous and angry groups are set to lay siege to the British Petroleum board and its American chief executive, Bob Dudley, when they go through the annual ritual of facing their shareholders at the Excel convention centre in London's Docklands.

Fishermen and women from the Gulf Coast in the United States who were hit by the oil spill that followed the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig will be joined in protests at the meeting by indigenous communities who are angry about the company's involvement in tar sands extraction in Canada.

The corporate world will also be sending protesters, as some powerful shareholders are far from happy with BP's new £11bn tie-up with the Russian oil giant Rosneft, which involves controversial Arctic drilling, a massive share swap and has run into trouble.

Much anger is focused on the fact that BP has gone straight from one risky, difficult and controversial project – deep-water oil-drilling in the Gulf of Mexico – into two more in Canada and Arctic Russia. There is also anger over senior executives' pay and bonuses, including the potential final remuneration of Tony Hayward for 2010; he presided over the company at the height of the Gulf crisis before being replaced by Mr Dudley. A raft of shareholders' organisations are set to vote against the company's remuneration.

A separate demonstration is planned by workers involved in a dispute at a BP-owned biofuels plant at Saltend who say they have been "locked out" of the contract to build the new plant after the project fell behind schedule.

Most eye-catching may be the actions of protesters from the Gulf of Mexico fishing community, whose businesses were shut down during the oil spill. They will include Diane Wilson, who fishes commercially and is from Seadrift, Texas. She had to be dragged out of a US Senate hearing on the oil spill last year after pouring a jar of syrup made to look like oil over herself. "I want to give a voice to an outrage and make it clear that these corporations need to be held accountable for what they do," Ms Wilson, 62, said yesterday. "I have three charges against me, have been banned from Washington DC and I could face 800 days in jail. Yet no one from BP has been charged with anything."

Other North American protesters will be staging demonstrations about BP's involvement in the extraction of oil from Canada's tar sands, which is regarded as environmentally damaging. Melina Laboucan-Massimo, from the Lubicon Cree First Nation in northern Alberta, said her community opposed BP's "in-situ" extraction, a water-and-gas-intensive process in which steam is pumped into the ground to extract bitumen too deep for open-cast mining.

She said her community's rights – enshrined in treaties originally signed with the British – to hunt, fish and gather plants were being eroded by the oil extraction, which was scaring off wildlife or making it unfit to eat and draining rivers and estuaries of water. The tar sands are also generating huge amounts of carbon emissions, she said.

"The fact that BP is still insistent on developing another risky development, the fact that they are still willing to take that risk, is pretty alarming," she said.

Bob Dudley

BP's softly spoken chief executive grew up just 70 miles from the Mississippi coastline devastated by the influx of his company's oil last year. But whatever happens today, the furious shareholders and protesters are not the toughest foe he has faced. In 2008 he was ousted as head of BP's Russian subsidiary, TNK-BP, following a boardroom coup. According to secret US government files published by WikiLeaks, he said he was then forced to move from country to country "as a precaution".

An increasingly politicised dispute saw the modern-day KGB raid TNK's offices in Moscow and a court refuse visas to BP staff. Mr Dudley left Russia in haste when his visa was not renewed, saying later he had faced "sustained harassment" from the Russian authorities.

Drafted in after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the chemical engineering graduate – like thousands who combed the Gulf of Mexico's coast with shovels and absorbent pads – is no stranger to clearing up other people's mess.

Arts and Entertainment
TV Review: Sabotage, a meltdown and, of course, plenty of sauce
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
i100'Geography can be tough'
Louis van Gaal looks dejected after Manchester United's 4-0 defeat by MK Dons on Tuesday night
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
REX/Eye Candy
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

DevOps Engineer - Linux, Shell, Bash, Solaris, UNIX, Salt-Stack

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: A fast growing Financial Services organisation b...

Trade Desk FIX Analyst - (FIX, SQL, Equities, Support)

£50000 - £60000 per annum + excellent benefits: Harrington Starr: An award-win...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?