Nightmare start for BP chairman Svanberg

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a tough start for Swedish BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, who started in January.

Money is flowing out of BP, with the company’s stock price plummeting on the London Stock Exchange. However, the oil giant’s new Swedish chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, has remained silent about the disaster.

According to Toby Odone, press officer at BP’s headquarters in London, the former Ericsson CEO has so far not commented on the issue, adding it is unclear if he will do so in the future.

“I do not know. We have other executives who are involved in this,” said Odone.

He added he does not know if Svanberg has visited or will visit the disaster area and declined to direct further queries.

“We are dealing with an oil spill right now and all our staff are working to clean up the oil as quickly as possible so that it will not harm the US coast,” said Odone. “This is our top priority. The chairman is not a part of it.”

The accident has proven to be a very tough start for Svanberg at his new job after taking over the reins at BP at the beginning of the year following his move from telecoms equipment maker Ericsson. Since last week’s deadly explosion on a BP-operated oil rig, the company’s stock market value has declined by about $25 billion (181 billion kronor), AP reported.

It is unlike that the spill will be expensive for BP, which had earlier said it would spend about $6 million a day to combat it. However, an analyst told Reuters that the final bill could climb to nearly $3.5 billion. In addition to the direct costs to contain and clean up the oil, BP also faces large fines in the wake of the disaster. The oil giant has already been sued by shrimpers in Louisiana and neighbouring Alabama on Wednesday and Thursday.

The appointment of Svanberg as president of BP last summer surprised many because of his lack of experience in the industry. Among the criticisms were that he is neither diplomatic nor an oil man.

However, the Swede is considerably better paid than his predecessor Peter Sutherland. According to BP’s annual report, Svanberg’s annual salary is £750,000 ($1.15 million). Sutherland received £600,000 last year. In addition, Svanberg received a £100,000 relocation allowance to move from Sweden to London.

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Oil spill cleanup after train hits garbage bin

Several hundred litres of oil leaked out of a commuter train in Lerum outside Gothenburg after it drove over a garbage bin that police suspect could have been deliberately placed on the tracks.

Oil spill cleanup after train hits garbage bin

According to the emergency services in Gothenburg, between 500 and 600 litres of oil spilled from the train after it hit an object in the early hours of Sunday.

“We are on the ground working with a decontamination firm,” Lars Jostelius of the emergency services told local newspaper Göteborgs Posten (GP) on Sunday morning.

Initially, local police did not want to specify what kind of object it was, but said they were not ruling out sabotage. In other words, one person or a group of people could have deliberately placed the object on the tracks.

The Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) later confirmed that the object was a garbage bin.

Incidents where an object is placed on train tracks are labelled “infrastructure sabotage” by the Transport Administration.

The fact that someone could have deliberately placed the garbage bin on the tracks is regarded as very serious, said the Transport Administration.

“There could be serious accidents and there are costs involved for society when a train is stalled and has to be repaired,” Bodil Sonesson, a Swedish Transport Administration spokeswoman, told news agency TT.

There were no passengers on board the train when it hit the garbage bin and no reported injuries.

The train traffic was confined to a single track while the leaking train was being removed in an extensive cleanup operation.

This led to delays of between 10 and 15 minutes up until lunchtime on Sunday.

TT/The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter