Public Relations Crisis Of British Petroleum Due To The Largest Accidental Marine Oil Spill In Our History

Crises can be characterized as the loss of harmony among generation and utilization, portrayed by debilitating interest, liquidations, and joblessness. According to Coombs (2007), “a crisis outlined here as an enormous threat to operations which is able to have negative consequences if not handled properly”. Crises can be caused both by intentional obliviousness of prior signs, the nearness of convictions or unwarranted philosophies, or cognizant visual deficiency and presumption with respect to representatives and supervisors. crises occasions are described by extreme and eccentric conditions, aggravation minutes and vulnerability that may influence an association.

The idea of crises is an idea firmly identified with the view of partners so a comparable circumstance can be seen and characterized in various ways. In light of their variable character, crises are constantly interesting in their qualities and require particular activities. All organizations have regular focuses: they all experience quotidian conditions. A large portion of these conditions are steadfast quickly. Others may extend to make a hazardous condition.

Get ready for them and in addition realizing how to deal with those circumstances decreases the effects yet request surpassed activity from the association. While increasing, these conditions can produce crises that can possibly debilitate representative’s effectiveness and significantly harm the notoriety and validity of the organization.

On April 20, 2010 just before 10:00 P.M. British Petroleum had a public relations crisis nightmare when their offshore drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon, exploded off the Gulf of Mexico. It caused the largest accidental marine oil spill in our history by spilling close to five million barrels of oil into the sea in a three-month period.

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It resulted in major destruction to the wildlife and was economically harmful to the fishing and tourist industry (Crandall, W., Parnell, J. & Spillan, J, 2014).

There were 126 people onboard the rig at the time of the explosion. These people were the Deepwater Horizon crew (employed by Transocean), the BP well site team, employees from other contractors, and visitors from both Transocean and BP. There was a prearranged plan in place to meet at muster stations and the crew did precede the best that they could to them what had not been damaged in the explosion. The rig was equipped with enough lifeboats to evacuate the amount of people onboard. Some of the crew went to the lifeboats as instructed while some jumped 100 feet to the water below. There were eleven deaths and seventeen severely injured (Crandall, W., Parnell, J. & Spillan, J, 2014).

The impact BP’s strategy had on the crisis was that it had a negative impact on their reputation and the loss of the confidence of the U.S market. There was very little sympathy for the company from the external stakeholders. The strategy of the blame game, the lack of communication, and the lack of sympathy all backfired on BP. When Tony Hayward stated that it was not his company’s accident but the fault of Transocean and Halliburton and made the statement “I’d like my life back” it made the company look as though they were very selfish and uncaring of the victims (Crandall, W., Parnell, J. & Spillan, J, 2014). This made the stakeholders angry and any understanding or forgiveness they may have had away from the company.

• What was the result:

Updates to the BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill are that in May of 2010, BP and Transocean moved to have the cases against them consolidated. On August 2010, the Panel consolidated federal economic loss, environmental damage, wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit. On September 2010, the first hearing was held and was agreed that plaintiffs would compile a master complaint list that details all the different actions against the defendant companies and have it filed by December 2010. This was for new complaints to add their names to the list that qualified by the deadline of April 2011. On October 2010 a trial date was set for February 27, 2012. This is to be a non-jury trial to determine which company is to blame for the explosion and what portion of the damages the companies will bear.

On October 8, 2010, the Court appointed a 15 member Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to deal with the claims in the consolidated claims proceedings. October 15, 2010, the court set June 2011 as the federal trial date for claims under the Oil Pollution Act by businesses and individuals. October 28, 2010, the Judge ordered test to be performed on the cement that was used by Haliburton. March 3, 2012 BP agreed to settle out of court. They agreed to pay $ 7.8 billion for private economic loss, property damage and injuries. On September 4, 2014, BP was found grossly negligent and guilty of willful misconduct in the Deepwater disaster. Halliburton and Transocean were found guilty of negligence (Consolidated proceedings/ Business & Human Rights Resource Center, (n.d.).

I believe the Deepwater Horizon accident was associated with both cost cutting and with faulty process safety culture. Having only to choose one I will go with faulty process safety culture because of what I read in our text book about the worker with the blowout preventer and the incident after it had been installed. He had accidently bumped a control switch four weeks before the explosion moving a portion of the pipe through the BOP. Chunks of rubber had been found in the drilling fluid and that had been an indication that something was not right but no further action was taken in the matter (Crandall, W., Parnell, J. & Spillan, J, 2014). Another incident was with the negative pressure test that was conducted on the well to tell if the well is sealed completely or not. When the test was conducted, it was confusing because they did not have a standard procedure in place on how to conduct a negative pressure test or how to interpret the results (Crandall, W., Parnell, J. & Spillan, J, 2014).

Compared to the Exxon port oil spill of 1989, BP did loads of things right. Unfortunately, the mere magnitude of things was an excessive amount of for Hayward to manage. Lawrence Rawl, the CEO at the time of the Exxon port oil spill, had a detached angle towards the Exxon port oil spill. He failed to head to Alaska to check what had happened, and he was additionally slow in responding to the crisis. In comparison Hayward was now at the positioning of the oil spill, and responded quickly, however his lack of PR coaching ultimately did him in

• My opinion:

The steps I would take to address the crisis to rebuild BP’s reputation if I assumed the role of Tony Hayward as CEO would be:

1. Apologize for the mistakes that were made and own up to them. Be contrite and compassionate towards the victims and make it clear that it will not happen again.

2. Take the time and replace the bad image with a positive image and be consistent.

3. Take steps to make sure that the company does not make the same mistakes again. Move on and go beyond expectations. Restore your company’s reputation.

4. Anticipate and plan for crisis. Put a plan and a Crisis Management Team together.

5. Gather my notification systems and monitor them regularly and catch anything before it turns into a crisis.

6. Identify and know my stakeholders and make sure they are aware of the situation. Keep them informed and be compassionate. Conduct focus groups to get information from them.

7. Conduct surveys of the public to determine the attitude and document what strategies worked and did not work.

8. Determine what sales and share prices have been affected and why.

9. See to the employees needs because after all they are your biggest stakeholders.

10. Be a leader, show empathy, respect and assure your ongoing support.

• Conclusion:

Center et al (2014) lists the basic pointers to arrange for and manage crisis situations: anticipate the sudden, institute and practice a crisis communications plan, train employees, have one spokesperson, if it is a crisis affecting the public, another spokesperson is required, do not speculate, and remember, how an organization communicates through a crisis will determine, in the minds of the general public, how it actually handled the crisis.

BP neglected to deal with the Deepwater Horizon explosion o.k. as a result of it failed to follow the rules for crisis management. BP has been in several crisis things, yet, it did not have a plan in place. BP had one official exponent, Tony Hayward, who was proven to be media incompetent. Because of Hayward’s incompetence, all of the positive steps BP took, such as the efforts to clean up the spill, and the creation of social media content, were overlooked. Because of the assorted verbal gaffes Hayward created within the public, Bob Dudley would become the new spokesperson after he became president of BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization.

Unfortunately, BP cannot recover its reputation. The lasting impact of the spill makes it not possible to realize. “In several cases harm to ecosystems and fishing grounds has merely not been addressed” (Fischetti, 2015).

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Public Relations Crisis Of British Petroleum Due To The Largest Accidental Marine Oil Spill In Our History. (2022, May 27). Retrieved from

Public Relations Crisis Of British Petroleum Due To The Largest Accidental Marine Oil Spill In Our History
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