Ministers have held 112 meetings with executives from Shell while BP has enjoyed 79 meetings with government officials. While there were a total of 119 with renewable energy executives, they were split between twenty-three different companies and two trade organizations. Fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips as well as Shell and BP, met with government ministers a total of 230 times.
The Guardian compiled a database using information from the official registers of meetings that were recorded in Whitehall, the governmental district of London. The researchers noted that the descriptions of what occurred in those meetings were vague; for instance, some simply stated that the two parties talked about “business”.
After a coalition government was formed in the UK in 2010, the secretary of state for climate and energy, Chris Huhne, met with Shell. The article alleges that “[d]uring the lifetime of the government, its executives were able to promote the multinational’s interests on a range of issues ranging from climate change to tax”.
A Shell spokesman rebutted by saying that as the government is a stakeholder, and that the meetings are “legitimate corporate activity”.
BP’s meetings, according to a Foreign Office diplomat, were meant to “strengthen the strategic alliance” between the government and the company.
Meanwhile, renewable energy companies say that it is difficult to get one of these meetings. Senior figures in the industry could not catch government officials’ attention even when promising to invest in the country. Another executive in the renewable energy industry points a finger at the Conservative ministers of the Department of Energy and Climate Change. “There was a huge difference with the Liberal Democrat ministers. They were accessible and supportive’.