Published on
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.

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
doing (sic) cutting-and-pasting" after several official company images
found to have been doctored.

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

For the second time in two days, the company was identified to have
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
show it flying off the coast near the damaged Bluewater Deepwater

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

Among the problems identified included part of a control tower appearing
the top of the top right of the picture, different shades of colours,
pilot holding a pre-flight checklist and its control gauges showing
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
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
team in front of a large projection screen, had been "edited" using
colouring tools. This was to ensure the detail on the projection
could be seen to readers.

The disclosures have created further embarrassment for the oil giant and
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
exaggerated the level of activity at the centre in Houston.

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

"BP's photographic department uses Photoshop to edit images we post on
the 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.
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
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
and causing one of America's worst environmental crises.

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

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

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee also is requesting testimony from
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

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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