Dudley cites BP's failures, strengths in Deepwater Horizon disaster

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 25 -- BP PLC Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley, in a major speech before the Confederation of British Industry, admitted that the firm’s “very existence” had been threatened as a terrible accident grew into a corporate crisis. But Dudley vowed that BP has the resilience to grow as a result of the disaster.

“This is a story of the damage that can be wrought by a single accident in one segment of a giant company’s operations,” Dudley said. “From a terrible accident and environmental spill grew a corporate crisis that threatened the very existence of our company—a major loss of value and loss of trust.”

He said, “This was a devastating industrial accident that should never have happened,” referring to the Macondo deepwater well blowout and Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible fire and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “We have mounted a substantial response and have stepped up to meet our obligations to all our stakeholders,” Dudley said. “We fully intend to continue doing this until the job is done,” he vowed.

“That is the basis I believe on which we will earn back trust in BP and begin to restore the company's battered reputation,” said Dudley, an American who took over from the British Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward in the aftermath of the accident that took place in April.

“A silver lining of the event is the significant and sustained advance in industry preparedness that will now exist going forward from the learnings and the equipment and techniques invented under pressure to contain the oil and stop the well,” Dudley told his audience, a lobbying group for British industry.

“There are lessons for us relating to the way we operate, the way we organize our company and the way we manage risk,” Dudley said, adding that that BP remains “financially healthy” and that the firm’s “underlying operational and financial performance is sound.”

In his speech, Dudley cast a critical eye on the media for its saturation coverage of the event, saying “the demand for information and instant conclusions is insatiable.”

He said, “We live in an atmosphere where many things are often exaggerated, opinion can quickly become polarized, and it is tempting to react to events in extreme ways.”

Dudley noted, “Over 87 days as the oil kept flowing into the ocean, it frequently felt as if we were the only story on the news, 24/7. I have seen figures that in some months fully 30% of the 24-hr news coverage was devoted to the incident.”

‘Great rush to judgment’
There was, Dudley added, “a great rush to judgment by a fair number of observers before the full facts could possibly be known, even from some in our industry.”

He stated, “I watched graphic projections of oil swirling around the gulf, around Florida, across and around Bermuda to England—these appeared authoritative and inevitable. The public fear was everywhere,” expressing the hope that in the coming months and years a more “balanced and informed judgment about what happened” would emerge.

Meanwhile, Dudley affirmed that BP would remain in the US, saying that relationships with federal and state government departments and agencies “have survived and are beginning to recover” in large part because of the scale of BP's response. “They have not completely lost faith in BP,” he said.

“And for our part, I can promise you that I did not become chief executive of BP in order to walk away from the US. BP will not be quitting America. There is too much at stake, both for BP and the US. The US has major energy needs. BP is the largest producer of oil and gas in the country and a vital contributor to fulfilling them.”

Dudley was no less optimistic about the future of deepwater drilling, saying that, “If we truly learn the lessons from this accident, I see no reason to close off the Deepwater as an area of future oil exploration and production.”

More generally, Dudley said, “The deep waters are becoming an increasingly important source of energy to fuel the global economy. They account for around 7% of total oil supplies now, growing to a projected 9% in 2020. And we are one of only a handful of companies with the financial and technological strengths to undertake development projects in these difficult geographies. And it can be done safely.”

Dudley concluded by saying that BP fully accepts its share of responsibility, but that “for everyone’s sake that over the next months and years we can reach a balanced and informed judgment about what happened and what we need to learn.”

It was, he said, “a human tragedy and a terrible event with major environmental and economic impacts. It was an accident from which we must and will learn.”

The executive concluded, “We were certainly not perfect in our response. But we have tried to do the right thing and we are making significant changes to our organization as a result of the accident. That is the standard by which we expect to be judged as we work to restore trust in BP. And that is how we ultimately expect to emerge stronger from what has been a thoroughly traumatic event.”

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

Related Articles

Kerry expects to receive other agencies’ Keystone XL reports soon

02/02/2015 US Sec. of State John F. Kerry said he expects to receive other federal agencies and departments’ reports soon on the proposed Keystone XL crude oi...

Union strike under way at US refineries, petchem plants

02/02/2015 The United Steelworkers Union (USW) has instituted a strike at nine US refining and petrochemical production plants following a breakdown in negoti...

Victoria extends drilling, fracing ban

01/30/2015 The new Victorian Labor government of premier Daniel Andrews has extended the coal seam gas (CSG) exploration and hydraulic fracturing ban in the s...

US Senate passes bill approving Keystone XL pipeline project

01/30/2015 The US Senate has passed a bill approving construction of the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline by a 62-36 vote after 3 weeks of debate. Nine...

Pennsylvania governor reinstates state forest drilling moratorium

01/29/2015 Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed an executive order fully reinstating a 2010 moratorium on new oil and gas leases in state forests and parks. ...

DOE could meet 45-day LNG export decision deadline, Senate panel told

01/29/2015 The US Department of Energy would have no trouble meeting a 45-day deadline to reach a national interest determination for proposed LNG export faci...

PHMSA outlines community steps to reduce pipeline incident risks

01/27/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration released a guide to best practices for communities to reduce risks from pipeline inci...

DOI’s 2017-22 draft proposed OCS program includes Mid-Atlantic sale

01/27/2015 The US Department of the Interior released a draft proposed 2017-22 Outer Continental Shelf management program that included 14 potential oil and g...

OGUK: Push to ban fracing in UK ‘ill-informed’

01/26/2015 The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee’s proposed amendment to the infrastructure bill that would introduce a moratorium on hydraulic f...
White Papers

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...
Available Webcasts


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

When Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

When Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST


Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected