Crisis Reflection the Gulf Coast and the BP Oil Spill

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As many know, the BP Oil Spill that took place on April 20, 2010 was a tragic occurrence. I knew about it, but was not aware of the enormity of the crisis and how critical dealing with it was. The oil slick was so huge that it could be seen from space and covered an area of 130 miles by 70 miles. The whole thing happened when BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, and emitted oil into the ocean from three cracks in the rig.

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A few years prior, BP was fined for neglecting to prevent leaks. This is where I believe the first problem occurred. Instead of BP admitting that they were doing this part of their work wrong, they neglected it and it eventually turned into something so much bigger.

After government officials insisted with BP, they finally drilled a relief well that intersected with the original well to pull up the oil. Then they would be able to pour more mud and concrete into the old well to retire it entirely. Although the oil on the surface was unpleasant and a problem, the major issue was beneath the surface. The oil that was caught underneath the waves dispersed methane to other parts of the Gulf, which was later proved by scientists. I believe BP trying to dispel those findings was also a bad idea. Instead of putting the effort to find out the truth and figure out a way to fix the problem, they were too busy trying to prove scientists wrong regarding the severity of the problem.

Four hundred species were affected by the spill, 30 of those species being birds since the spill coincided with their mating season. The ocean wildlife was not the only aspect that was affected by the oil spill. 12,000 people applied for unemployment since the spill and it cost taxpayers $1.5 billion. In addition to that, the tourism industry in that area was majorly hit by the spill as well. The oil coming onto the shores caused authorities to advise people against going to the beaches, which in turn leads to a decrease in revenue brought in by tourism as a whole.

In effort to help in the recovery process, BP attempted to help the states affected by the oil spill, such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. They received $15-$25 million each, which I suppose was a good way for BP to begin solving this crisis. I also think that the concept of BP developing cleanup crews was a good idea. They used different tactics to help save the beaches, like Beach Techs, Sand Sharks and Sand Mans. This shows that they care enough to clean up after their original mistake. They are not hiding behind their money and trying to only settle it that way.

But I also feel like BP made another mistake. Because they were using the Mississippi River to flush out the oil from the coast shores, the oysters in that river would eventually die off. The people that harvest those oysters will ultimately be affected by this, and BP thought they did not need to fund those oyster farms because the oysters were not affected by the oil in the first place. Now that is a big no-no in my book. It seems to me that were picking and choosing what they wanted to pay for. When in reality, the oysters were affected by the oil, whether it was after the original spill or not.

I am aware of how big the crisis of the oil spill was. That is a very hard situation to deal with on many levels, especially for such a big organization such as BP. They had to face two crises, stopping the spillage and convincing the people that they are trying to stop it. Early on in their response to the spill, they said that the rig was leaking 1,000 barrels a day, when the number was really 5,000. That right there proves dishonesty on their part, which is hard to come back from. Also, BP trying to deflect blame for the accident was not a good move either. Saying that the rig was not theirs, but that they are responsible for cleaning it up did not look good on them. They should just take the fall and deal with the consequences, instead of trying to point fingers in different directions. BP did handle some things right though; the way they handled the crisis online deserves some praises. They created a section of their website solely to the oil spill that included photos, video and even maps that track the progress of the cleanup. They also posted constant updates on their Twitter feed, keeping the public in the loop with what they were doing. This allowed them to respond to people quickly and specifically. I also found that it was a nice gesture that they provided a hotline for anyone that saw oiled wildlife. Although BP made some missteps in their strategy, they also made some good ones. Like I mentioned above, this crisis was a hard one to deal with, I believe that a crisis strategy of that magnitude cannot be smooth-sailing all the way through.

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Crisis Reflection The Gulf Coast and the BP Oil Spill. (2019, Dec 15). Retrieved from