What is Opal? It is a very low aromatic gasoline, with no sulphur and
no lead. The key feature is its low level of aromatics, which we hope
will lead to some reduction in abuse.
However, I say this cautiously, because we realize there are many
facets to this issue. Opal is only one step in the overall fight to
address the issue.
We in BP believe a corporation should make a contribution not just to a
nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s economy but also socially and environmentally where it can.
And this instance was one where we felt we could make such a social
We wanted to do it for this reason.
And we are not seeking to be sole supplier of Opal. We are making Opal
available to other companies. And it is fine by us if other companies
make similar purpose fuels. This is not about attaining a commercial
benefit. This is about solving a serious problem.
I think the sincerity of our approach is demonstrated by several of our
staff spending several weeks camping with communities in Central
Australia learning about the problem first hand and coming back
determined to play a part.
And it goes further. We acknowledge that more needs to be done, and BP
has also established a return to school program in conjunction with
Yirara College in Alice Springs and Teen Challenge. This program has
resulted in a total of 12 remote students who previously sniffed petrol
resuming their studies during 2004.
I especially wish to thank the Minister and to the Australian
Government for their support, firstly through the Comgas scheme, and
secondly to our Opal proposal. The cost of these fuels is much higher
than ordinary unleaded petrol, and Opal would not be able to be
delivered to the communities at a similar price to unleaded if it were
not for the financial support of the Australian Government. The program
depends upon the GovernmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s support through the Department of Health
and Ageing, and this is a true industry/government/community
The full text of the speech is available on BP’s website.