Environment and human rights groups claim BP is in breach of multi-million pound loan agreements, backed by UK taxpayers, after its BTC oil pipeline was ruled to have broken OECD guidelines.
A BP-led consortium is breaking international rules governing the human rights responsibilities of multinational companies in its operations on the controversial Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the UK Government has ruled. Villagers living along the pipeline have struggled to hold the companies accountable for alleged human rights abuses associated with its development. The pipeline brings up to one million barrels of oil a day from the Caspian Sea, across Azerbaijan and Georgia, to Turkey from where supertankers ship it to Europe.
BP has consistently promoted the BTC pipeline as "world class" in its approach to human rights. According to its legally-binding commitment to comply with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (an international code of conduct for multinationals operating in the energy sector) BP is obliged to "consult regularly" with local communities about the impacts of pipeline security arrangements and should record and report credible allegations of abuse by security forces to the authorities.
The pipeline passes through an area of north-east Turkey with a substantial Kurdish minority who have been subject to state repression for decades. Since the pipeline's inception over a decade ago, human rights campaigners in Turkey and the UK have highlighted the risk of local people, particularly Kurdish minorities, being intimidated by state security forces. The UK Government has now found that BP breached its undertaking and failed to adhere to the Voluntary Principles in the north-east region of Turkey by not responding adequately to allegations of intimidation and not investigating them.