Essay about BP Oil Spill Response Brittany Bardo

Submitted By Brittany-Bardo
Words: 1289
Pages: 6

On April 20, 2010, a gas release and subsequent explosion occurred on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion involved a loss of hydrostatic control of the well and failure of the blowout preventer equipment that allowed the release and ignition of hydrocarbon. The explosion claimed 11 lives and 205 million gallons of oil spilled into the surrounding ecosystems which made it the largest accidental oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. In response to the crisis, BP created its “Gulf of Mexico Restoration” website as a form of crisis management to protect and repair its reputation. BP’s “Gulf of Mexico Restoration” website uses these three strategies to try to repair its reputation: highlighting current financial data and reports to show the accurate compensation contributions BP has given to the Gulf; displaying videos with images that de-emphasize the damage by focusing on restored areas and statistics showing how the Gulf has restored business continuity; and uses powerful headers and sub-headers titled to portray optimistic restoration objectives.
To restore its reputation, BP's "Gulf of Mexico Restoration" website provides current financial data and reports that show the donations BP has given to the Gulf to prove its strong commitment to helping the affected areas. Effectively communicating its use of compensation as a reputation repair strategy, BP provides public data reports updated as of September 30, 2013 under the sub-heading “Compensating the people and communities affected”. This report shows the disbursement of the $8.2 billion that BP has paid to individuals and local businesses as well as governmental and other agencies. Compensation payments, such as industries or states, are further broken down into smaller categories in the “Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Claims and Other Payments Public Report”. As Coombs suggests in his crises communication best practices, “[f]or crises with strong attributions of crisis responsibility, add compensation and/or apology strategies to the instructing information and care response” (Coombs, 2007). Coombs also argues that a post crisis communication best practice is, “releasing updates on the recovery process, corrective actions…” (Coombs, 2007). BP communicates its compensation strategies and continuously keeps them up to date on its response website as part of its post-crisis management phase. Making the data about compensation efforts public is BP’s way to show that it takes financial responsibility for the spill and offers transparency. Thus, making compensation reports public on its website makes it easy for stakeholders to see the disbursement of donations and where the money was allocated.
BP's “Gulf of Mexico Restoration website” displays videos that show how the spill hasn’t hindered the success of the Gulf tourism industry by providing visual proof and statistics that focus on the positive efforts in restoring the damage in beaches along the Gulf. Under the section, “Committed to the Gulf”, BP displays a video with its operation’s manager, Fred Lemond, in which he briefly describes the commitment BP made to the Gulf and to Americans and its continuous clean-up efforts. The statistical figures that Lemond presents in the video are that BP spent $23 billion on claims and clean-up costs to those affected, is currently supporting 250,000 American jobs, and is the largest energy company investor in the United States. The video displays visuals on BP’s efforts to restoring the Gulf as Fred Lemond is positioned in front of a white sand beach with people swimming in the clear water. Displaying scenes of families enjoying vacations on the clear beaches and happy employees working to restore the damage is BP’s strategy to show the public that conditions are improving and creates a positive image for the viewer. In reference to an article by the Guardian of the effects from the spill on the ecosystem and animals, “State and federal workers…