Energy firm BP's 27-year deal with the British Museum is thrown into doubt
Oil giant BP's partnership with the British Museum has been thrown into doubt after it emerged the company is not sponsoring any events next year. The 270-year-old museum's relationship with the energy firm has been a source of controversy in recent years. Actress has been among those who have called on the British Museum to drop BP as a sponsor, while eco-activists have occupied the museum's great court in protest. Speculation that the 27-year-long partnership between BP and the museum had finally come to an end was growing last night. Freedom of Information requests submitted by lawyers working for the environmental group Culture Unstained revealed there were no plans to host BP-sponsored events at the museum next year. The most recent contract ended in February but the partners have resisted stating explicitly that their partnership is over, leading to concerns of an ongoing relationship behind the scenes. In one of the responses seen by the Daily Mail, the museum said: 'The corporate supporter may continue to exercise their supporter benefits as part of the existing partnership until the end of this calendar year.' But it added: 'There are no other contracts or agreements in effect between the museum and BP.' Responses also confirmed that no further exhibitions or activities are being sponsored by the energy firm. BP would still be able to host corporate events at the museum. The split would be yet another blow for the oil giant, which has seen funding partnerships ended by the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Scottish Ballet and the Royal Opera House in recent years. The Science Museum continues to receive funding for an educational academy from BP. A spokesman from the British Museum refused to confirm whether the deal had come to an end, adding: 'In times of reduced public funding, corporate sponsors like BP allow us to fulfil our mission to deliver unique learning experiences to our visitors.' Chris Garrard, Culture Unstained's co-director, said: 'If it is serious about responding to the climate crisis, the museum must now confirm that there will be no future relationships with fossil fuel producers, take down BP's name from its lecture theatre and roundly reject the climate-wrecking business it represents.' The energy giant has sponsored many high-profile exhibitions in recent years, including 'Troy: Myth and Reality' and 'Sunken Cities: Egypt's lost worlds'. It comes after George Osborne, the museum's chairman, delivered a speech to trustees in November, outlining his intentions to make the organisation 'net zero'. He said: 'Our goal is to be a net-zero carbon museum... no longer a destination for climate protest but instead an example of climate solution.' BP declined to comment.