bp oil spill – five years later B u s i n e s s F i n a n c e
BP Oil Spill Case Notes
Perhaps you remember the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 or saw the “Deepwater Horizon” movie released in 2016? This was one of the worst man-made environmental disasters the United States ever experienced.
In his book, James Chiles points out that the advancing technology described in Chapter 7 of our textbook makes possible the creation of machines that strain the human ability to understand and operate safely. (Daft, 267.) As you read this case, please ponder Chiles’ idea of “system fractures’ to understand what happened and consider whether this catastrophic failure was preventable.
Some ideas to think about are how BP’s history and culture shaped decision making on the “Deepwater Horizon.” How did the political and regulatory environment affect decision-making by BP and its partners? Why did so many employees – engineers, managers, rig workers – feel it was appropriate to take such significant risks? What were the most significant of the many flawed decisions made by BP and its partners? How do you assess Tony Hayward’s leadership in the immediate aftermath of the crisis? How could he have managed the crisis more effectively?
As always, prepare your Case Notes by highlighting a very few key points from the case, analyzing major issues and applying concepts from the chapter in your analysis.
Finally, you might find these videos of interest: CNN the First 100 Days https:// class=”screenreader-only”> (Links to an external site.)
BP Oil Spill – Five Years Later (5 minutes)
As you have read, on April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon explosion not only killed 11 people and seriously injured 28 workers, it leaked oil into the Gulf for 87 days, dumping 134 million gallons into the Gulf. This spill fouled wildlife habitats, fishing communities and commerce along the large number of coastal communities in Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, Alabama and Florida. What resulted from this incident was an economic, political, scientific nightmare that was not settled until six years later, when on April 4th, 2016, a Federal District Judge approved the largest environmental damage settlement in US history of $20.8 billion dollars.
The Chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restoration Center, Chris Doley, commented exactly ten years later that while much had been accomplished by the collective work and dedication of so many people, much remained to be done to restore the Gulf’s resources and “NOAA’s work will extend well past 2030.” (NOAA, April 20, 2020)
As you consider what you have read, who else do you blame for this devastation? What do you think of the settlement? As a consumer, do you have any second thought about buying BP products? Do you believe that BP has recovered its corporate image? Please try to support your opinions with facts and information.