Saturday 18 November 2017

BP under fire over 'photoshopped' image of oil spill command centre

The image of the command centre before being photoshopped. Photo: BP
The image of the command centre before being photoshopped. Photo: BP
The image of the command centre with 2 of the monitors with new screens. Photo: BP

Peter Hutchison

BP has come under fire over a "photoshopped" image of its Gulf Coast oil spill command centre, which indicated that staff were busier than they actually were.

The oil company has acknowledged that it posted on its website an altered photo that exaggerated the level of activity at the centre in Houston.

The picture posted over the weekend showed workers monitoring a bank of 10 giant video screens displaying underwater images of the deadly oil leak.

However a spokesman for BP admitted that two screens were actually blank in the original picture and a staff photographer had used Photoshop software to add images.

Scott Dean said the company put the unaltered picture up on Monday after a blogger for the website Americablog wrote about that copying and pasting had taken place.

The spokesman added that the photographer was showing off his Photoshop skills and there was no ill intent.

Mr Dean said BP has ordered its workers to use Photoshop only for things like colour correction, cropping and removing glare.

The embarrassment came as British Prime Minister David Cameron warned against excessive punishment of BP over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill during a visit to Washington DC.

He insisted that it was in neither Britain or America's interest to destroy the company's future but is expected to order the release of secret Government documents disclosing how BP pushed Labour ministers to agree to a controversial deal which led to the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

The BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and causing one of America's worst environmental crises.

The well has spewed somewhere between 94 million and 184 million gallons into the Gulf. BP said the cost of dealing with the spill has now reached nearly $4bn.

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