BP disaster spills to Bundy

A BP service station in central Bundaberg.
A BP service station in central Bundaberg. Mike Knott

BUNDABERG may be a long way from the Gulf of Mexico, but BP staff here are still feeling the effects of the company’s disastrous oil spill.

BP staff in the region say many residents are angry about the largest offshore spill in US history and are taking it out on the employees, despite none of the BP service stations in the region being owned by the brand.

One employee, who did not want to be identified, said she had taken several complaints from people telling her to fix the problem.

“People come in and say we should be shut down,” the worker said.

“They don’t realise that we are owned by Wessel Petroleum and are just branded BP.”

The staff member said people seemed to personally blame staff for the incident.

“They’re saying we should be ashamed of ourselves and telling us to fix it, but how can we do that when we’re over here and have no say in anything?” she said.

Many people are threatening to boycott the stations.

“They say they won’t buy fuel from BP anymore,” the employee said.

“They have been going into the other BP stations around town as well. Wessels just told us to tell people the truth; that we’re not owned by BP, we just have their brand.”

However, Wessels Petroleum owner Paul Wessel denied the service stations had taken any complaints.

BP spokesman Jamie Jardine said people needed to make the distinction between the 1400 stations with the company’s brand and the 220 actually owned by the businesses.

“Most of the people being abused have no connection with BP. To some extent, it’s a bit unfair,” he said.

Mr Jardine said the company was not happy to hear the staff were being targeted by upset members of the community.

“It’s upsetting to hear the individuals are being abused by association with the BP brand. We are doing absolutely everything we can to contain it,” he said.

Mr Jardine said the company had copped complaints from all over the world.

“We get calls every day with half of the people abusing us and the other half giving suggestions on how to fix it,” he said.

“Everyone at BP is heartbroken by the events in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven people lost their lives. We understand that people are frustrated and angry but we are doing our best to get it under control.”

Relief wells to stop the flow of oil spilling into the ocean are due for completion in August.

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