The Jury Talks Back

6/10/2010

What’s that going to achieve, exactly?

Filed under: Uncategorized — aphrael @ 2:25 pm

There’s a FB group meme going around today: boycott BP until they fix the oil spill.

I don’t get it.

I mean, I can understand “BP hosed us really badly so we should boycott them as punishment.” That’s consistent, and it’s basically what I did to Exxon after Valdez (and, while I now believe that I was wrong to do so because the people who were most hurt by it were the service station owners, I can understand the impulse). It’s not clear that an oil company which operates no branded service stations can effectively be boycotted – it’s not like I know who extracted the oil that was refined into gas/plastic/etc that I buy – but modify it to ‘boycott Arco because BP hosed us really badly and they deserve to suffer’, and there’s at least something understandable there.

But boycott them until they fix it?

That only makes sense if you believe that BP could fix it but hasn’t – if you ascribe to them some deliberate delaying action which they would abandon in response to the economic pressure of a boycott.

But that’s not really a reasonable way to look at it. The blowout is on the order of a mile below the surface of the ocean. It’s in a place where very few manned vessels can go, under intense water pressure which makes everyday activities slow and complicated. Fixing a leak of this sort at this depth is something which has never been done before; as far as I can tell, they have some theories about things which might work, but it’s not like those theories have ever been put into practice. They don’t know how to fix it; they’re trying the ideas they have until one of them works. Trying to use economic pressure to get them to do it faster isn’t going to help.

11 Comments »

  1. Exactly, but I guess it makes people feel better. Maybe that’s why I liked the idea of boycotting Venezuela’s Citgo.

    I don’t know if boycotts make a difference but I’m not impressed with BP’s track record, and I sure hope BP isn’t the Operator on many oil and gas wells in the future.

    Comment by DRJ — 6/10/2010 @ 10:12 pm

  2. I agree with DRJ. BP does not get my $2.999 (sic) per gallon anymore.

    Comment by nk — 6/11/2010 @ 5:04 am

  3. i say tac nuke it and be done:

    the well, bp, Venezuela, what have you…..

    Comment by redc1c4 — 6/11/2010 @ 8:09 am

  4. I haven’t seen any BP stations in TX but I haven’t really looked, either. I know there are many BP stations in Ohio. I also know there are Duke/Duchess shops in Ohio who used to have Duke pumps but got switched to BP pumps (and Marathon pumps).

    As far as boycotts go, I actually involve myself in boycotts but I do it quietly instead of vocally. I have boycotted many movies and am boycotting a certain “artiste” due to principles. When I was in HS, I only wore Levis and Lees. Today, I only wear Lees because I am actively boycotting Levi Strauss.

    I can understand some people will have reason to boycott BP. But to boycott BP until they fix a leak that is already killing BP’s bottom line because it isn’t fixed? That reason for a boycott exposes those particular people’s total lack of business acumen.

    Comment by John Hitchcock — 6/11/2010 @ 9:12 am

  5. Arco and AM/PM are both owned by BP.

    Comment by aphrael — 6/11/2010 @ 9:36 am

  6. Aphrael, my first paragraph was in response to this:

    “It’s not clear that an oil company which operates no branded service stations can effectively be boycotted”

    Ohio has service stations that blaringly say BP, and not some other name.

    Comment by John Hitchcock — 6/11/2010 @ 9:45 am

  7. Oh, and the Duke/Duchess thing, they give the fuel branding on their pumps and signage (at least in Ohio).

    Comment by John Hitchcock — 6/11/2010 @ 9:46 am

  8. John Hitchock, that’s fair. In northern California they used to have service stations but don’t any longer; I had assumed that they’d been rebranded everywhere in the country.

    Comment by aphrael — 6/11/2010 @ 10:03 am

  9. Saw a guy this morning picketing a BP station in Oak Park, Illinois with a placard that said “BP killed 11 people and the ocean”.

    Comment by nk — 6/12/2010 @ 9:44 am

  10. lol, nk.

    I guess that’s better than sitting around and doing nothing, but they could use volunteers in Louisiana.

    I haven’t bought gas from a Citgo in ages upon ages. I assume this pressure has led to Citgo franchisees buying into a different brand, because I see far fewer of those stations. I think BP deserves to pay a heavy penalty, but they are paying a heavy penalty and are also a scapegoat for the government’s part in the poor response.

    Comment by Dustin — 6/13/2010 @ 3:37 am

  11. Well half the Citgo stations were actually 7-11s and 7-11 divorced itself from Citgo as a response Chavez’s tantrums. That was a major blow to Citgo, losing half its market. Up here, all the Amoco stations became BP and they have a substantial part of the market. There are BP stations half a mile away from each other. Even a ten percent drop in customer loyalty will hurt them.

    Comment by nk — 6/13/2010 @ 2:00 pm

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