Supporting long-term research

BP has committed to pay $500 million over 10 years to support independent research through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative
BP's Thunder Horse platform in the Gulf of Mexico Thunder Horse is currently the largest deepwater producing field in the BP portfolio

The goal of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative is to improve society’s ability to understand, respond to and mitigate the potential impacts of oil spills on marine and coastal ecosystems. The organization is doing this by engaging the expertise of some of the world’s most respected scientists. This research is separate and distinct from the studies conducted in co-operation with federal and state trustees through the natural resource damage assessment process.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative provides information about active and completed research projects, and lists researchers and institutions funded by the initiative.

Grants awarded

The $500 million in BP funding will cover grant awards and administrative costs. As at the end of 2013, the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative had awarded $184 million in grants. Grant recipients are investigating the fate of oil releases; the ecological and human health aspects of spills; and the development of new tools and technology for future spill response, mitigation and restoration. Grant recipients are expected to publish their results in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative released its fourth request for proposals in November 2013. The request focused on research consortia, and total funding available from 2015 to 2017 will be approximately $35 million a year. The research consortia will consist of a number of universities that will work together to address one or more of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative’s key research themes.

About the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative was created following the 2010 oil spill through an agreement between BP and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, a non-profit partnership formed by the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas to address common environmental issues.

BP and the alliance agreed to create a fully independent research board to commission long-term research relating to oil spills in marine and coastal ecosystems. The research board is responsible for developing all requests for proposals, making all funding decisions and reviewing progress of the funded research.

There is no requirement for BP to approve any research proposal, or any study before publication.

Continued fulfillment of BP’s commitment to the research initiative is one of the conditions of the criminal plea agreement with the US government.


The information on this page forms part of the information reviewed and reported on by Ernst & Young as part of BP's 2013 sustainability reporting. View the full assurance statement.