Sunday, June 13, 2010

It's a Small World for BP Oil Catastrophe Commission

A second Oil Spew Commissioner works for an organization with BP ties. It's former Alaska Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer, currently University of Alaska Anchorage chancellor. While she doesn't control over $2 million in stock in ConocoPhillips, a joint venture partner with BP, the University of Alaska has "a long standing research relationship with BP."

Fran Ulmer's boss, University President Mark Hamilton, sat on BP America's external advisory council. The University received a major donation from BP. They cited their charitable gift in BP's 2008 Annual Report: Charter for Development of the Alaskan North Slope:

Approximately $3.2 million was contributed to the University of Alaska Foundation (1/3 of the 2007 total Charter Community Spend Commitment).
Over time that number grows. UA President Mark Hamilton included this in his 2007 report:

Gifts from BP and ConocoPhillips to the university have totaled over $30 million since 1999.

BP loves Alaska. Tony Meggs, BP Vice President Technology said this of Alaska:

Alaska has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on BP's corporate development. Prudhoe Bay has shaped the minds of much of BP's leadership. It has a place in the heart of the company. And the technology developed in Alaska, and the people who deliver that technology, continue to be exported around the BP world and beyond.

I don't know where I'll be, or what I'll be doing, in 2014. But I do feel completely confident that Alaska will still be pushing out the frontiers of technology and helping to create the future of this industry all over the world.

Even in the Gulf of Mexico. Two of Obama's appointments have significant ties to BP. Their work becomes more important, given Ken Salazar's bailing on the investigative component of his charge.

Update: President Obama finished naming Commission members and requested $15 million in funding.

Update 2: Fran Ulmer spoke from Juneau, Alaska before heading to Louisiana for the Commission's first meeting.