BP—Selling a Nation’s Birthright

Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

BP—Selling a Nation’s Birthright

The petroleum industry called it a masterstroke. In reality it will lead to further loss of the little that remains of Britain’s once great birthright blessings.

The oil company BP was for 50 years a mainstay of the British economy and the chief catalyst to propelling the industry of the British Empire from dependence on coal to dependence on hydrocarbons.

It originally registered as Anglo-Persian Oil in 1908, the same year that Englishman William Knox-D’Arcy discovered oil in southwest Persia. But, just before World War i began, Winston Churchill, then first lord of the admiralty, gained approval for the British government to purchase a controlling interest in the company. The investment was a win-win deal for both sides—guaranteeing Britain a source of oil for its naval fleet and a distinct edge in the war that followed, and guaranteeing the company a significant customer.

With the British Empire beginning to decline after World War i, Anglo-Persian aggressively expanded exploration and drilling into Canada, Europe, South America, Africa and Papua. It became the British government’s largest single overseas investment and profit-maker.

Renamed Anglo-Iranian in 1935, the company saw its Persian assets nationalized in 1951. Following three years of negotiations with the Iranian government, the matter was settled, and the company was renamed British Petroleum.

BP expanded its Middle Eastern exploration and development activities into Kuwait, Iraq and Libya. At the same time it looked to friendlier territory with discoveries and developments in Alaska and the North Sea.

In 1987, BP ceased to become a major asset of Great Britain when, under Margaret Thatcher’s scheme of the privatization of industry, the British government sold its shares in the company.

In 1998, BP amalgamated with Amoco, the outgrowth of John D. Rockefeller’s old Standard Oil company, to become a supermajor in the global oil industry.

Though BP has had its share of disasters in what is by its nature a dangerous industry, nothing has measured up to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe of 2010. Neither has BP suffered such great damage to its public image to the extent that it has in the wake of this disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

There is no doubt that the company has been negatively impacted financially to a large degree due to this most recent disaster. Perhaps that is what compelled its corporate leaders to seek a partnership of significance with Russia.

Birthright Blessing Lost

“BP agreed on January 14 to swap a $7.8 billion stake in the company for 9.5 percent of Rosneft. The two also agreed to explore an area of Russia’s Arctic waters about the size of the UK North Sea” (Bloomberg, January 28).

Yet the results of this deal spell ongoing difficulty and perhaps even future financial disaster to BP. Overriding all this is the feeling that a once great asset of a once great country is being thrown to the wolves.

Already BP is in hot water over the deal as Russian oligarchs play energy politics, with BP being the meat in the sandwich. No sooner was the ink dry on the BP-Rosneft agreement when BP was slammed with an injunction by the company’s existing Russian partner in a separate deal, tnk.

The tnk group has asked a London court to halt the share swap and the Arctic exploration deal between BP and Rosneft. They are claiming exclusive rights to pursue business in Russia with BP.

Observing the signing of the BP-Rosneft deal on January 16, the Daily Mail correspondent Mark Almond commented: “They were smiling but the picture was of a funeral ceremony. Looking on from the shadows as the American ceo of BP and the representative of the Russian state oil company, Rosneft, shook hands on their dramatic link-up was our energy secretary, Chris Huhne. His role was as undertaker at the wake of an independent British energy policy” (January 16).

Since the British Colonial Office closed its doors in 1966, there have been many headlines asserting that various acts of successive British governments have sounded the death knell over Britain’s once great empire. It was no great surprise then to see the Mail Online headline its story on the BP-Rosneft deal: “This BP Deal Is, Finally, the Death of the British Empire.”

Well, in reality, the empire went decades ago. But there’s something even more vital at stake in BP’s grasping at the Russian straw. It’s the very birthright of a nation—a once great nation that used to sing praises to God for its overflowing birthright blessings, that used to pray to God for deliverance in times of war and that used to raise prayers of thanks to Him for deliverance from tyranny.

From Self-sufficiency to Dependence

Herbert Armstrong wrote: “Prior to World War ii, the American and British peoples had acquired more than two thirds of the cultivated resources and wealth of the world. Yet, astonishing wonder though it be, we acquired nearly all of it rather suddenly, since the year 1800. Never in all history did anything like this occur. Never did any people or nation spread out and grow so suddenly and rapidly into such magnitude of national power …” (The United States and Britain in Prophecy).

He then went on to marvel at the suddenness of the collapse of British power: “Yet we are beholding before our very eyes the diminishing and evaporating of this national greatness, wealth and power. In the case of Great Britain, it is disintegrating even more rapidly than it developed! Britain has been almost overnight stripped of her colonies and her possessions—source of her wealth—and reduced to a second-rate or third-rate power. Why? There is a reason.”

As Herbert Armstrong went on to explain in some detail in that same book, the fact is, Britain has forgotten its God, the one who gifted to an island nation the greatest empire in the history of humankind. The result? Those blessings have been withdrawn due to the nation’s rebellion against the God who originally lavished them on it. Britain has progressively sold off national assets in an attempt to survive economically.

Now, the company that was once Britain’s greatest national asset deals with the enemy. An enemy that successfully penetrated the nation’s major institutions of learning, recruited double agents from Oxbridge, took over the minds of academia, and infiltrated the nation’s bureaucracy, its local councils and its trade unions during the Cold War to the point of almost destroying both the government and the nation’s social fabric.

Russia is not a friend of Britain. We ought to have learned that through 40 years of Cold War history. Yet we now witness a British government minister forced to stand in the shadows as an impotent observer to the signing of a deal which has the duplicitous fingerprints of Russian hands all over it.

As Mark Almond observed: “Generations of Arabs and Iranians have grown up with the idea that BP was as much an integral arm of the British state as MI6. Those days have long gone. Now a British minister is flattered to be a bystander at the deal of the century. Only dogmatic free-marketers celebrate the impotence of their government in energy politics. … [I]n the cut-throat world of energy politics it is the power of the state which determines the fate of companies” (Mail Online, op. cit.).

Almond then astutely mused: “Now, 5 percent of the shares will be in the Kremlin’s hands. That’s just the start. I suspect Vladimir Putin will show a greater sense of their strategic value than our politicians. Sadly, for our government’s revenue, the new Russian shareholders are no more likely to want to pay corporation tax here than other ‘British’ companies which have relocated to tax havens. Maybe BP will get access to Russia’s Arctic Sea oil and gas resources, but the British public will pay for them—and the profits will increasingly go non-domestic.”

Economic Loss

Over the last 13 years Britain has watched from the point of BP—its once greatest and most strategic single overseas asset—being sold off, with concomitant loss of profits to the privy purse, to now the prospect of even being denied corporate tax revenue from the same source.

On top of this, as Mark Almond commented, with BP rapidly slipping out of Britain’s grasp, the nation devolves from once having total control over its oil resources and energy policy to becoming largely dependent on foreign entities for its supply of the crucial black gold: “Britain’s North Sea oil and gas are declining fast. How will this country afford to import most of its energy on top of so many other things? Our trade deficit is grim enough now but in two decades the national overdraft will be floating—or rather sinking—under a slick of imported oil” (ibid.).

In a closing observation, musing on the period in British history when the nation suddenly rose to global dominance, Almond stated: “BP in its Churchillian heyday was the last in a long line of state-sponsored profit-making companies …. To the Kremlin’s power players, business is part of the poker of politics. Energy is just a pawn in the great game of geopolitics. Just because Britain’s elite has retired from the game doesn’t mean others won’t go on playing it.”

And play it they will, to the unfortunate detriment of the failing Anglo-Saxon democracies. The BP debacle is but one of the final nails in the coffin of former British greatness.

Britain’s current economic woes and its rapidly collapsing multiculturalist society are but the early warning signs of the penalties that the nation is destined to suffer for rebellion against its Maker.

Your Bible prophesies worse, far worse to come (Hosea 13:12-16).

That’s the bad news.

But the painful fallout that will result is, mercifully, to be cut short (Matthew 24:22). For an all-wise and ever gracious God has a purpose for the British and their fellow Anglo-Saxon nations (Hosea 14).

Following the terrible penalty they will pay for their rebellion against their God, the British peoples will rise to greatness again. But this time it will be with their minds open to comprehend the source of their blessings and to submit to the overarching law of God that guarantees the continuance of such blessings to those who will obey Him (Hosea 14:4-8).

Study our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy for a deeper understanding of Britain’s and America’s present woes, where they are leading, what they are designed to achieve, and the new global order that will follow the prophesied national repentance of these peoples.

It’s a mind-opening vision of a tremendous future that awaits those who will turn to their God, today, before the onset of the great national penalties that your Bible prophesies will befall the Anglo-Saxons for their constant rebellion.

You have nothing to lose by studying this book, but so much to gain if you comprehend and yield to its enlightening vision—and it’s all provable from the very pages of your own Bible!