BP/Amoco has been criticised by a House of Commons committee for having too close a relationship with the Colombian army, despite knowing it was implicated in human rights abuses.
The hard-hitting report by the Select Committee on International Development also calls on companies to reject corruption and bribery and use their influence to improve social conditions in developing countries.
The committee singled out BP, before its merger with Amoco, for supplying night-vision goggles to a Colombian army brigade accused of human rights abuses.
Dr Chris Gibson-Smith, BP/Amoco executive vice-president for policy and technology, told the committee BP was aware the Colombian army had been implicated in human rights abuses but had `no option’ other than to have contact with the security services.
He said that the goggles were supplied so that pipelines could be protected from night attacks.
At the time, BP paid extra taxation, in goods or services, to cover the cost of security. It now pays the tax through the state oil company, which transfers the tax, `so there can be no close relationship between us and the army’, Gibson-Smith added.
The report said extractive industries `will have to consider the ethical implications of investing in developing nations with human rights difficulties’.