‘Beyond Petroleum’ Gives Up on Solar

bp solar no more

BP Solar, the alternative energy subsidiary of the oil industry giant which received a $7.5 million Department of Energy grant only four years ago, announced last week it would exit the solar business.

The unit just closed its only U.S. manufacturing facility, in Frederick, Md., last year. The company said it would outsource its production of solar photovoltaic panels to China and India. BP CEO Tony Hayward told the Washington Post at the time it was “moving to where we can manufacture cheaply.” BP auctioned equipment in January this year from the closed plant, and in a sign the overall industry – with bankrupt Solyndra as its face – is completely tanking, an experienced industrial auctioneer told the Frederick News-Post, “We’ve been doing more solar technology auctions lately.”

So much for the excuse that U.S. solar companies “can’t compete” because of the cheap, heavily subsidized production of panels in …

BP Co-Owns Gulf Well That Got Deepwater Permit

Deepwater HorizonEarlier today I accused Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of a “cynical” approach to issuing deepwater drilling permits for the Gulf of Mexico. I did not realize how right I was. According to Kristen Hays of Reuters:

BP Plc, whose Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history last year, co-owns the well that was granted the first deepwater drilling permit since the disaster.

BP is Noble Energy Inc’s partner in the well, holding a 46.5 percent interest, BP said.

Noble operates the Santiago well that received a permit from U.S. regulators on Monday to resume drilling in the Mississippi Canyon area of the Gulf, about 70 miles (110 km) south of the Louisiana coast.

I pointed out that the moratorium was a policy response by officials like Salazar who were hostile to deepwater drilling even before the BP disaster. His department’s …

CNBC: Flaherty Says White House Allies Cashing in on BP

Today I discussed whether BP can ever get it right in the wake of Tony Hayward’s yacht outing with John Kilduff of Round Earth Capital and CNBC hosts Trish Regan, Melissa Francis and Larry Kudlow. Here’s a transcript:

Trish Reagan: We are asking the question here, in light of all of this, can BP ever get it right? We want to go to Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center also John Kilduff, Partner at Round Earth Capital and also a CNBC Contributor. Great to see you guys, John, I mean, come on, a yachting race? Is he just very, very British and I just don’t get it? Or was this a massive, massive PR blunder? Come on.

Melissa Francis: Sometimes you just have to go yachting.

John Kilduff: You could of maybe understood the World Cup. Ok, with soccer you know there is …

Yacht Race Is Final Straw for BP’s Tony Hayward

Tony Haywards YachtAccording to the Associated Press:

The BP CEO is attending a yacht race off the Isle of Wight in southern England today, a company spokeswoman said.

Sheila Williams says Hayward took time off his duties handling the oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico to see his boat “Bob” participate in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race on Saturday.

If this report is true, Hayward must go. Earlier in the week, I criticized the House hearings as political theater. I thought that Hayward was reluctant to answer many questions because of the criminal investigation announced by Attorney General Holder.  Even if set up for a public relations fall, Hayward was at least rational to try protect himself from criminal liability.

But going to the boat race is not rational. It’s beyond stupid. While commercial fisherman and shrimpers in the Gulf are idled as their livelihoods disappear, …

CNBC: Flaherty Criticizes House BP Hearings

Tonight on The Kudlow Report, I discussed the appearance of BP CEO Tony Hayward before the House Energy and Commerce Committee today with Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of the Yale School of Management and psychologist Dr. Tim Irwin. Here’s a transcript:

Larry Kudlow: All right unless you are from another planet, you would know that was BP’s CEO Tony Hayward. He was offering more questions than answers today. Based on his overall performance, I guess we must ask as many others will, is it time for Hayward to go? And if so, who should replace him and will that matter at this point? So nobody knows this issue better than my friend Jeff Sonnenfeld, the founder and President of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute at the Yale School of Management. Peter Flaherty, the National Legal and Policy Center and organizational psychologist Tim Erwin, he is the author of Derailed, Five Lessons …

Radical Group Seeks Federal Seizure of BP Assets

Seize BP photoThe explosion and spill from a BP deepwater drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico has generated justifiable anger across the nation and especially in the affected coastal region. It’s also generated popular backlash, one manifestation of which is an increasingly loud call for confiscating company assets. The front line of this campaign is an ad hoc group, “Seize BP,” which organized anti-BP rallies in cities across America last week. The group’s mission is as simple as its name: Persuade the Obama administration to seize assets of the British-based oil company and use the proceeds for compensating victims and family members for loss of life, health, and property values. Such action, however, far from delivering justice, would make a bad situation worse. 

Some basic background is in order. On April 20, the Deepwater Horizon, a floating oil and natural gas drilling platform located about 40 miles southeast off the …