BP–too late to be responsible?


The company I want to investigate this week and potentially for paper 2 is BP.  Obviously the first thing that comes to mind when hearing BP is the deepwater oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.  The beginning of the problem was the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig which killed 11 men and injured 17.  The explosion resulted in the largest ever accidental oil spill in history.  The actual rig was not owned by BP but leased to them from a company named Transocean.  Reports on the safety record of the company vary.  Some reports claim that it had a strong safety record with no major incidents in 7 years.  However further investigation shows that they have had specific problems and were actually rated last compared to other deep-sea drillers for job quality.  This poses questions regarding the regulations or governmental oversight involved with off-shore drilling, as well as the varying responsibilities of BP and Transocean.  

Prior to the explosion, BP had to submit a document to the Minerals Management Services (a branch of the US Department of Interior) explaining the exploration and environmental impacts of the drilling of this specific well.   The MMS exempted BP from further investigation of the environmental impact because they concluded that a massive oil spill was highly unlikely.  Clearly their assumptions were wrong and the environment took a huge hit.  Marine animals, wetlands and shorelines, and land animals have all been effected by the oil spill.

BP has responded by creating a very informative website regarding sustainability and the environmental impacts of oil spills.  Their website holds no information back and it seems they handled the situation responsibly.  They provide information regarding oil spill preparedness and response, the impact of spills, and even statistics on their number of oil spills.  I believe it is very important to be forthcoming with information but also to be more prepared at the start by implementing safe and strict safety codes and regulations.  I’d be interested to further research what these regulations are and how they have changed as a result of the spill

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5 thoughts on “BP–too late to be responsible?

  1. I like this idea sarah! I’d also be curious to learn how much this oil spill financially impacted BP and how much their tell-all website is supposed to help them recover. Also, I would be more inclined to believe that they want this information out there if they advertised its existance more thoroughly. This posting is the first I’ve heard of it.

  2. This is a good idea. That picture of the poor bird is seriously disturbing. I think that we are supposed to read a BP case for class in the future so you may want to read it for research of your paper. I am curious if you think this is an appropriate response for BP to take? Should they be promoting sustainability when they have been doing a fairly good job of hurting the environment? Just a thought!

  3. Definitely a good idea for a paper topic Sarah. Perhaps a broad question you might dig into is if companies should be given second chances in order to redeem themselves. Are accidents different than deliberate unethical attempts, or are the end results caused by carelessness just as bad? Maybe some mistakes are just too large, making an image impossible to repair? It’s really difficult to get past the images of fish, bird, and animals covered in oil.

  4. What does it take for BP to gain back credibility and trust? How might that compare to Shell? Or to the operators of the Japanese nuclear plant that melted down?

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