BP Admits It 'Photoshopped' Official Images as Oil Spill 'Cut and Paste' Row Escalates

Published on
by
The Telegraph/UK

BP Admits It 'Photoshopped' Official Images as Oil Spill 'Cut and Paste' Row Escalates

BP has ordered staff to stop manipulating photographs of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill response, as the row over its public relations campaign intensifies.

by
Andrew Hough

The photo's caption on the BP site reads: 'View of the MC 252 site from the cockpit of a PHI S-92 helicopter 26 June 2010.' (Photo: BP)

The oil giant was forced to issue new guidelines to staff to "refrain
from
doing (sic) cutting-and-pasting" after several official company images
were
found to have been doctored.

BP admitted on Thursday that it "photoshopped" some of its official
images
that were posted on its website and vowed to stop the embarrassing
practice.

For the second time in two days, the company was identified to have
doctored
images posted on its official website that were supposed to show how
it was
responding to the oil crisis in America.

In the latest image, a photo taken inside a company helicopter appeared
to
show it flying off the coast near the damaged Bluewater Deepwater
Horizon.

But it was later shown to be faked after internet bloggers identified
several
problems with the poorly produced image that contradicted the
appearance
that it was flying.

Among the problems identified included part of a control tower appearing
in
the top of the top right of the picture, different shades of colours,
its
pilot holding a pre-flight checklist and its control gauges showing
the
helicopter's door and ramp open and its parking brake engaged.

The image was posted on the official
BP website
but later removed.

It has since been posted
to the company's official Flickr account under the heading "BP altered

images, which also includes a further two faked pictures.

The image, entitled "View of the MC 252 site from the cockpit of a PHI
S-92
helicopter 26 June 2010", was
first identified by Gizmodo, a technology news website
,
which posted
the images on Thursday after a tip-off from a reader.

Another image has also been exposed as faked, which BP admitted appeared
to be
"cut and pasted".

BP admitted the image of a meeting in its Houston office, showing a
technical
team in front of a large projection screen, had been "edited" using
colouring tools. This was to ensure the detail on the projection
screen
could be seen to readers.

The disclosures have created further embarrassment for the oil giant and
is
the latest blunder to hit the company
.

It comes less than a day after the oil giant was
criticised for doctoring an image of image of its Gulf Coast oil spill

command centre, which indicated that staff were busier
than they
actually were.

It later acknowledged that it posted on its website an altered photo
that
exaggerated the level of activity at the centre in Houston.

In a statement to The Daily Telegraph on Thursday, BP admitted that it
edited
images it posted on its official "Gulf of Mexico Response" website.

"BP's photographic department uses Photoshop to edit images we post on
the
bp.com Gulf of Mexico Response web site," a spokesman said.

"Typical purposes include colour correction, reducing glare and
cropping. In a
few cases, cut-and-paste was also used in the photo-editing process.
These
cut-and-pasted images have been removed.

"We've instructed our post-production team to refrain from doing (sic)
cutting-and-pasting in the future."

He added that the both the original and edited images have
been posted on its official Flickr page
"for comparison".

He said the company included an image that "appears cut-and-pasted, but
was
edited using the colour saturation tool to improve the visibility of a

projection screen image".

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
$4 billion.

A
US Senate panel has
invited Tony Hayward, the chief
executive of BP,
to testify next week at a hearing on the release of the Lockerbie
bomber.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee also is requesting testimony from
Sir
Mark Allen, who has served as an advisor to BP.

Mr Hayward and other oil bosses are
expected to give evidence to a new UK political inquiry

into
offshore deep-water drilling.

That inquiry, expected to start later this year, will ask "serious
questions" about the oil companies' plans for dealing with spills,
including key safety devices such as blowout preventers.

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