Both BP and Shell have faced heavy criticism for their treatment of workers and the planet.
Environmental campaigners have taken part in a guerrilla poster campaign in Aberdeen ahead of leading offshore energy conferences this week.
The unauthorised poster campaign from the Brandalism network has appeared in bus stop and billboard advertising spaces in Aberdeen, featuring BP and Shell, installed without permission.
The move coincides with Shell’s AGM in London and Offshore Energy UK’s conference on North Sea Transition Deal in Aberdeen both on Tuesday, May 24.
The billboards take aim at the exploitation of workers and the climate by BP and Shell while making millions in profits through continued fossil fuel production.
Three-quarters of offshore workers are on ad-hoc contracts with no job security according to a 2021 survey, with thousands being laid off when there is a downturn in the oil market.
The move comes as a decision from the UK government to approve or reject Shell’s proposed Jackdaw gas field is expected, despite growing consensus that there can be no fossil fuel expansion.
The artworks highlight the hypocrisy and greenwashing of oil majors who adopt the language of a just transition whilst avoiding its key elements: empowerment for workers and avoiding climate breakdown.
Tona Merriman from Brandalism said: “A just transition requires a rapid phaseout of oil and gas and centering power in the hands of workers and communities, and it is clear that Shell and BP plan to do neither.
“Recent weeks have shown that they continue to make record profits off the backs of offshore workers and people’s bills.
“Aberdeen has long been referred to as the oil and gas capital of Europe, with the city saturated by adverts from oil companies boasting their green credentials through the language of just transition, whilst behind the scenes they continue to exploit our natural resources and their workers for profit.
“Workers have the skills and expertise to lead the energy transition, while BP and Shell’s bottom line is their profits.”
One poster by artist Lindsay Grimes, aimed at Shell, reads “At Shell, we’re squeezing our workforce for every last drop of North Sea Oil”.
Another by Matt Bonner draws out the clear greenwashing by BP, reading “For us, energy transition means making billions in profit while selling out our workers”.
A poster by Anarchxart draws on traditional union artwork styles, and reads “solidarity with workers for a just transition”.
Merriman added: “Offshore workers have already made demands for green jobs and an Offshore Training Passport that remain unactioned. We are calling for a just transition for oil workers that puts employees, communities and the climate before profit.”
A BP spokeswoman said: "We arrived at our net zero ambition and strategy through constructive dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders, including many challenging voices. We know not everyone supports our plans, but we are in action, transforming our company to help make the energy transition a reality.
"bp is investing in the UK – we intend to invest up to £18 billion in the UK by 2030, with the majority going to low carbon businesses. This includes developing offshore wind in the North Sea off Aberdeen, making Aberdeen our global centre of excellence for offshore wind, and working with Aberdeen City Council to develop a city hydrogen hub.
"As part of these developments, bp will invest in infrastructure – in ports, harbours and ships, supporting hundreds of jobs. We will also invest in training to support both the reskilling of experienced workers and creating entry-level energy transition roles."
Shell and BP were approached for comment.