An icy rain is pelting about 30 protesters who’ve converged at the gate of a natural gas drilling site near Manchester, England. On the other side of a fence topped with razor wire, a 10-story-high rig is boring into shale to determine if it’s suitable for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The demonstrators unfurl a banner: “Fracking will poison our children.”
On April 20, 2010, BP ’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 men and injuring 17. During the next three months, 200 million gallons of oil gushed uncontrollably into the Gulf of Mexico, leading to the worst ecological disaster in U.S. history.
A private-equity company run by John Browne, a former chief executive officer of BP Plc, is in advanced talks to buy as much as half of Fairfield Energy Ltd., a U.K.-based oil and gas business, the Sunday Times reported.
BP Plc’s decision to consider selling out of its Russian venture signals the end for John Browne’s vision of a British driller able to challenge Exxon Mobil Corp. as the world’s largest publicly-traded oil producer.