Main Challenges for Deepwater Horizon Film

Categories: Oil Spill


The movie of Deepwater Horizon focuses on the events that took place in April 2010 where the biggest and worst environmental disaster in US history took place. This environmental disaster was caused by the exploration oil rig Deepwater Horizon controlled by Transocean, which was set to begin the drilling operation until Mr Jimmy Harrell, Mike Williams and Andrea Fleytas set out to and go to the oil rig, when they landed on where the operation is taking place, Mr Jimmy and the rest notice the team assigned to test out the strength of the recently applied cement were leaving and Mr Jimmy was furious of how fast they were let go and found out that BP representatives\\executives Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza were the ones who ordered the instruction that the team can leave because of their frustration about the delay of the project.

However Mr Jimmy made them aware of how serious the cement is to the oil rig and if not secured there can be serious consequences, but the BP executives were very stubborn and insisted that it is very secure and even decided to run the test that Mr Jimmy proposed, the test was deemed successful because of readings on the meter but the meter’s readings were strange and it could have been because of poor maintenance, still thinking the test was successful everyone goes back until even more crazy readings on the meter go even more crazy and those readings were very accurate causing a large mud flow that was being held back by pressure to burst all the pipes in the working facilities causing employees to not be able to control anything going on anymore, a lot of employees were injured and others were classified as deceased, Mr Jimmy and Mike Williams tried their best and heroically attempted to save some crew members.

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The explosion of the oil rig occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, 41 miles south-east of the Louisiana Coast and it lasted approximately 87 days until it was extinguished, Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza were seen as the people to blame for this disaster and faced serious consequences.

Management and Leadership

Introduction to management and leadership

In order to talk more about these topics we need to have a better understanding of what a manger is and what a leader is. First the meaning of a manager, a manager is a person responsible for controlling or administering an organization or group of staff, an example would be a manager of a bar. There are many management styles and they all have leadership qualities some more than others such as democratic, autocratic, laissez-fare, transactional, transformational and situational leadership style.


In the movie Deepwater Horizon we saw different versions of some managers, we saw poor management and good management, and poor management was represented by the executives of BP Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza they seemed lazy and didn’t look like they had any respect and a great working relationship with the other employees an example would be when they ordered the team that was supposed to secure and make sure that the cement was still able to secure the oil rig, that they can leave, they gave that order without even confirming with other management departments like James “Mr Jimmy” Harrell (15:58-16:40), this is one of the things people use to differentiate management and leadership from one another, according to William Arruda (2016) a manager is seen to be a person who relies on control and focuses on systems and structure whereas a leader would focus on certain things such as people and inspires trust amongst themselves and other employees another is that leaders are in it for the long haul and managers for a short-term just trying to get the work done as soon as possible to gain their acknowledgment whereas leaders would love the challenge so they can learn and grow.


In order to also understand what leadership is we’ll have to first define what it is, a leader is the person who leads or commands a group, organization or country an example of this would be a leader of a protest that leader earned the trust of his\\her followers because they all believe in the leaders point of views. A great example of a leader in the movie would be James “Mr Jimmy” Harrell he was appointed as a manager of his department and showed mutualism and great respect for all employees and they all had great respect for him too and all the employees could speak freely with him because he does what a great leader does, and that’s to inspire trust (William Arruda: 2016). Another great leader is Mike Williams who works as middle management who also has a great working relationship with the rest of the employees and has trust with all of the departments at work (20:00-24:37; 26:28-27:40).\n

Management vs leadership

We can see the few differences between leadership and management with the representative of management being Vidrine and Kaluza showing more of an Autocratic management style where thy seldom allow any input from other employees and make all the decisions, whereas Mr Jimmy and Mike Williams represent leadership and a more transformational and democratic management style where they lead with a charismatic style and allow subordinates to provide input in the work being done and trusting them to know what they are doing which is a great example of leadership is about inspiring and manage is mainly about planning(

Professionalism and Ethics

Introduction to professionalism and ethics

Professionalism and ethics are both very similar things, ethics can be defined as guidelines for individuals, which give the dos and don’ts and professionalism can be defined as the conduct displayed by an individual of a certain profession. And we at as young people were taught from our households and family what is seen as right and what is wrong.

What is ethical and unethical?

In the case of Vidrine and Kaluza there was a sign of unprofessionalism when they decided to make their own decisions without informing other management firms knowing very well that it is unprofessional and unethical to not inform management and employees of actions that you will be taking place that have an impact on the business and that’s a form of disrespecting agreements and not showing transparency and honesty ( (28:15-29:50). According to the studies of Estie Meyer and Zain Strydom (2017/2018) some might consider what Vidrine and Kaluza did as ethical because of the Utilitarian theory where it states that the decision made whether it be ethical or unethical that as long as it was done based on what is best for business and for the majority of workers but thing is with this situation the majority did not agree with the decision therefore their actions are considered as unethical. No one other than Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza benefit from the decision to send home the team who were supposed to do check on the cement, they benefit by cutting costs and the duration of the project, this is also a form of corruption whereby a person who is in a position of power abuses the power and makes whatever decision whenever he wants and Vidrine and Kaluza’s decision was lazy and cheap. Having a big ego is not considered as unethical, but the having a big ego can lead to the employee or employer behaving unethically, research that was run shows that people who think too highly about themselves always want a positive view of themselves and often care what people think of them, so that can lead to unethical behaviour as soon as they see that they are being challenged a great example would be when Vidrine was being confronted by Mr Jimmy (39:00-42:54).

Illegal and unethical

According to Estie Meyer and Zain Strydom (2017/2018) professionalism and ethics are there for good business practice and they are part of the professional codes which state that there are consequences for professionals who do not follow and act in accordance to the professional code, but keep in mind the unethical behaviour is not necessarily illegal but illegal acts are considered as unethical, for example if an employee were to commit fraud which is a crime and illegal and in the work environment it would be seen as unethical and the employee could possibly be terminated from the work place, even if some things weren’t considered illegal like conflict of interest where a person is part of the selection panel where one of the applicants is a friend or family member and the person on the selection panel fails to inform the other members of the selection panel that he/she is well acquainted with the applicant, this would be seen as unethical and could lead to termination.

Risk management

Introduction to risk management

Risk management is the process whereby threats are identified and assessed and controlled because those threats can have a very negative effect on the business/organization. Many of these threats may include things that affect the financial instability of the organization and/ cause an environmental disaster like the one in the movie where the oil spill affected the Gulf of Mexico which contains a large fish population and affected sea life. When you thinking about risk you should always ask yourself “what could possibly go wrong?” so you are well aware of the serious threats and make plans to oppose against those threats.


Safety measures

Margaret Rouse and Ben Cole (2016) are of the opinion of when dealing with risk management, strategies need to be implemented such as risk monitoring where you monitor any new possible threats and risks in the movie we got to see how they monitor the oil rig and most of the things that could cause a serious problem (37:00-39:33). Another thing that is crucial to monitoring is to make sure all equipment is functioning properly so when running test you get the right reports from that equipment like in the movie when they misinterpreted the readings of the pressure test while thinking all is well when it was actually quite the opposite.

Communication and consultation

According to Margaret Meyer and Ben Cole communication is a priority in risk management, the shareholders and managers need to consult with one another to see if the next move is the right move, without consultation a lot of things could go wrong because you as the person deciding to make the next move might not be aware of all the risks and possibilities of things that could go wrong but the other person might be well aware of what could go wrong if this action were to be taken, one example of this would be when Vidrine and Kaluza decided to send back the cement team without consulting with Mr Jimmy first, Mr Jimmy knows the risks of what could happen if the cement was not properly secured, maybe if Vidrine had consulted with him the team could’ve secured the cement and the disaster could have been avoided. Transocean’s maintenance was also bad and BP were the ones who were supposed to give money and Transocean also still had to make sure they had the right safety equipment and measures all those things were neglected and were considered failures that caused the Gulf oil spill according to Justin Mullins (2010), failures include; leak not being spotted sooner, overwhelmed separator, no battery for blowout preventer (BOP) and no gas alarm, that caused workers to not be aware of what is happening so they can prepare for a safe evacuation .

When all else fails

At times where all things could go wrong the organization should have a failsafe plan so every staff member is safe and the business itself does not affect the environment and economy in anyway, organizations should create a safe and secure environment that gives protection from serious incidents those are the benefits of risk management.


I conclude by saying BP is to blame for the disaster that occurred because executive representatives of BP Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza were simply irrational and did not think things through when they should have, they were thinking about how to save money and finish the task at hand faster without thinking about all the things that could go wrong, them as executive members should n more about the business world and how to think of all the things that could go wrong, could go wrong, they are professionals and should know how to put their pettiness aside for what is best for business. The government should always place strict rules but those rules only apply if the person who has to follow them actually follows them, BP thought of everything they were basically the masterminds of the whole operation they are the ones who chose to place the oil rig there and they funded the whole thing so I firmly believe that they are the ones to blame.

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Main Challenges for Deepwater Horizon Film. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from

Main Challenges for Deepwater Horizon Film
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