Rising oil prices stall BP recovery

February 23, 2011, 7:31 PM GMT+0

Rising petrol prices have stalled BP’s recovery from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill despite early signs of recovery in the eyes of the British public. In the two months from mid-April to mid-June, immediately after the oil rig explosion and susequently devastating leak, the oil giant’s BrandIndex index score plummeted from +7 to -13, but since then it had seen a steady recovery and at +3 was getting close to where it started before the disaster.

However, from mid-December onwards, high petrol prices began to hit perceptions of all oil companies. BP slipped backed to -7, Shell dropped eight points and Esso six points. The oil spill incident did not impact BP’s rivals (often events like this can hit similar companies which become tarred by association) but once again in this sector we have seen how much price increases impact on perceptions across the board.

With views of petrol companies so closely tied to prices they will be watching the tension in North Africa and the Middle East with interest. The first post-Mubarak poll in Egypt, an online poll by YouGov Siraj, shows a mood of uncertainty grounded in optimism; while 49% do not know who will form the next government, 85% are expecting the country to improve and 77% think their own situation will improve. Encouragingly three quarters also expect the country to respect its international agreements.

Only 4% are expecting the Muslim Brotherhood to form the next government and most Egyptians are genuinely seeking a stable liberal democracy. When it comes to the next President, Amr Moussa is the clear leader with 49% overall, well clear of Ahmed Zeweil (13%) in second place and Omar Sulemain (9%) in third. This support is consistent across all demographic groups, for example 51% among those with a household income of less than $266 and 47 per cent among those above $1,065.

BrandIndex 'Index' scores for brands BP, Esso and Shell