BP doctored oil spill image to make staff look busy

July 22nd, 2010 - 6:19 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 22 (IANS) British Petroleum (BP) was caught up in yet another controversy after bloggers noticed an image of its US oil spill command centre was digitally modified to make the staff look engaged in cleaning up operations.
The firm admitted having doctored the image after a blogger in Houston noticed a problem and reported that two of the 10 screens looked suspiciously like images had been digitally pasted over them.

The image appears to have a series of errors, including pixelation, blurring the sea between the two boats, indicative of two images being joined together, Daily Mail reported Thursday.

By Monday, however, the photo on the BP website had changed - now revealing two blank screens in place of the crudely doctored fixes alleged by John Aravosis at Americablog.com.

BP spokesman Scott Dean said its photographer had used the computer programme Photoshop to amend his picture. He was showing off his Photoshop skills and there was no ill intent.

Dean also said BP has ordered its workers to use Photoshop only for things like colour correction, cropping and removing glare.

However, further evidence of BP’s fondness for using Photoshop has subsequently been pointed out by New York blogger Brian Barrett and, if true, the alterations go further than simply correcting colour or glare.

Barrett claimed an anonymous tipster sent him a breakdown of the faults with the image entitled “View of the MC 252 site from the cockpit of a PHI S-92 helicopter 26 June 2010.”

The blog contends that the helicopter is in actual fact on the ground, near a landing tower that is visible in the top left hand corner of the screen, rather than in the air, and that the view of the ocean in the windscreen has been added in a clumsy composite.

BP has not yet responded to that allegation.

The BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and causing one of America’s worst environmental crises.

The well has spewed somewhere between 94million and 184million gallons into the Gulf. BP said the cost of dealing with the spill has now reached nearly 3 billion pounds.

Meanwhile, clean-up efforts have been boosted by news that the gushing oil leak could be snuffed for good within two weeks. The US government’s spill chief said Thursday this was possible because a relief tunnel should finally reach BP’s broken well by the weekend.

Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen also revealed that that engineers believe the risk of a bigger blowout is now minimal.

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