BP Renames Gulf of Mexico Discovery
BP announced it has retired the name Crazy Horse, and has re-named its major Gulf of Mexico discovery Thunder Horse. The decision to re-brand the project was taken after the family of the Lakota warrior and spiritual leader made BP aware that use of the name in this project is inappropriate. Their objection was based on Lakota tradition, which holds it sacrilegious to use the name outside of a spiritual context.
"It is not our intent to dishonor or disrespect any individual or group of people," said Thunder Horse project general manager Mike Janssen. "BP's system of values rests upon certain strongly held beliefs, one of which is respect for individuals and the cultures they represent. When this matter was raised, we felt strongly that the project should be re-named."
BP's decision was taken in consultation with the Interfaith Center on Corporate responsibility and Walden Asset Management, a money management organization that concentrates on socially responsible investment. The change was welcomed by both groups, and by the Lakota Nation.
"BP's decision to change the name of its Gulf of Mexico operation from Crazy Horse to Thunder Horse demonstrates very real sensitivity to Native American core values and religious sensitivities," said Timothy Smith, Senior Vice President, Walden Asset Management. "Just as BP does a 'social impact review' of key business decisions to assess how to maximize their positive impact and minimize negative implications, management has stepped forward to insure that one of their most important oil ventures carries a name that is appropriate rather than causing pain and anger in the Native American community. The religious community and other socially concerned investors have for years been working to educate companies to be sensitive to 'what's in a name'. BP's decision sets an example for other companies to follow," Smith said.
The new project name, Thunder Horse, was selected for a number of reasons. Thunder Horse represents an overall image similar to the previous project name, in keeping with the already established theme. Additionally, thunder is generally regarded as a natural manifestation of power, similar to the strong reservoirs this project encompasses. The new name and image are strong and memorable, as is the oil field we are in the midst of developing.
Thunder Horse is the largest discovery to date made in the Gulf of Mexico. It is scheduled to begin production in 2005. BP is operator of the project with 75% equity interest. The remaining 25% is owned by ExxonMobil.