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Lecture 4

CC212 Lecture 4: cc 212 Frontline

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Christopher Anderson

Frontline: The Spill • BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico • Called the worst environmental disaster in US history • BP CEO went to court to explain what went wrong but it didn t go well, the interrogation produced no new evidence, just back and forth • Not the first time the company has been in trouble • BP board has been in crisis mode for 5 years, disaster after disaster • Company grew too fast and took on too many risks • After explosion at a required Texas refinery, charges that BP card more about profit than safety arose • The refinery was in bad shape, rotted out columns, fires every week (built in 1934), worst refinery in the area • Several blow down stacks instead of flares (very dangerous), BP still used them after many other companies stopped because of the risk • They didn’t give the Texas refinery the attention it didn’t • Several cuts, told to make use with what they had, continued to use old equipment • March 2004, major fire in unmanned part of the refinery • Employees were scared of dying at any time while at work • Paris was well liked because he actually cared about safety, alerted the boss at BP in London • The response was, it was his job to avoid this, he said he needed the resources to do his job but they didn’t listen • 20 years ago, BP wasn’t the big company it is now • Share price at an all time low in the 80s • John Brown, one of the new managers, made CEO in 1995. Believed in heavy cost cutting • He was willing to take big risks • Ninja turtles, including Brown and 3 others • Brown went on a spending spree and bought
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