3 Cheers for BP!

A few years back, salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff urged America's corporations to view philanthropy and community improvement as missions equally important to the eternal search for profits. He summarized his thoughts in a little book titled "Compassionate Capitalism: How Corporations Can Make Doing Good an Integral Part of Doing Well."

And while I doubt anyone would argue that last week's Deepwater Horizon disaster qualifies as "good," or that the underground oil reservoir now spewing its contents into the Gulf of Mexico is the "well" that Benioff had in mind, I do believe that in this case, in the depths of this particular PR nightmare, there's one company that's living up to Benioff's standards of corporate stewardship: BP (NYSE: BP  ) .

BP?! Are you insane? They're the bad guys!
Yes, yes, I know. The conventional wisdom on this story reads opposite. BP's the outlaw oilman, reaping billions in profits from destroying the Earth. It's the cowboy wearing the black hat, the starring villain in There Will Be Blood -- I get it. But if you'll lay aside the pitchforks and torches for a moment, I'm going to explain to you why I think BP's doing a standup job in this here crisis.

You see, when a PR disaster blows up in its face, any corporation's standard operating procedure is to: "Admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter-accusations." As the lawyers will tell you, admitting guilt is no way to beat a lawsuit.

Mea culpa? Heck no! Somebody-elsa-wasa-culpa
That's why, when caught with its hand in the mortgage market cookie jar, rather than issuing an immediate mea culpa and lamenting how a relentless drive for profits caused it to lose its moral compass, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein instead responded with the improbable assertion that he was "doing God's work."

It's why Toyota threw everything plus the kitchen sink into the defense against charges of shoddy workmanship on its automobiles, blaming first floor mats and then gas pedals -- anything to avoid admitting that it was potentially a software problem, and very expensive to fix.

Most pertinent of all, however, it's why ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) -- BP's predecessor in the field of mega-oil PR blowups -- spent the better part of two decades arguing somebody-elsa-wasa-culpa for the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident. It's why Exxon denied that it did anything really and truly culpable and worthy of punishment, and then paid millions of dollars to what seemed like trillions of lawyers in an all-out effort to reduce the $5 billion punitive damages award originally levied against it.

Round up the usual suspects
Given the corporate track record, and Benioff's admonitions notwithstanding, what's truly surprising about BP's reaction to the Gulf of Mexico disaster is ... well, that it's taking responsibility. After all, there is no dearth of decoy targets to which BP could have directed the public's attention in this mess. Chief among them, Transocean (NYSE: RIG  ) owned and operated the rig under contract to BP, drilling the well and pumping out the oil. It was on Transocean's watch that the disaster occurred. BP could easily have pointed the finger at Transocean, accused it of ecological murder most foul, and diverted the public's outrage "thattaway."

Or consider the case of Halliburton (NYSE: HAL  ) . It has been rumored that the company's potentially poor cementing of the well may have allowed natural gas to escape to the surface of the rig, causing an explosion. While the investigation is ongoing, Halliburton is likely responsible for a similar incident last year off the Australian coast. After the Deepwater Horizon blew up and sank, a fail-safe device called a blowout preventer manufactured by Cameron (NYSE: CAM  ) was responsible for shutting down BP's well, and preventing the environmental disaster that resulted. It failed.

My mess. I'll fix it
Regardless, when describing the disaster and what BP intended to do about it -- how it would compensate those harmed by the oil slick and repair the environmental damage -- the company's bull's-eye-in-chief made no bones about his intentions: "This ... is our responsibility," promised CEO Tony Hayward. "Where there are legitimate claims for business interruption, we will make them good."

Amazing.

According to Hayward, it doesn't matter that: "This wasn't our accident. This was a drilling rig operated by another company. It was their people, their systems, their processes." Regardless, BP is: "responsible for the oil and for dealing with it and for cleaning the situation up."

And speaking of dealing with it, Hayward's deputy, chief operating officer Doug Suttles, advised that BP has already begun drilling a relief well, whereby BP will seal the original leak. He promised on Tuesday that BP would have a multistory steel containment system installed over the main leak "within a week." In fact, BP began deploying said oil cap last night.

Foolish takeaway
The oil industry in general, and BP in particular, have suffered a massive public relations hit over Deepwater Horizon. So as you're motoring to the protest rally this weekend, the hatchback of your internal combustion engine-powered automobile stuffed full of placards decrying BP's greed for profits, I'd urge you to remember:

So far, BP's response to this crisis has been beyond reproach.

salesforce.com is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Fool contributor Rich Smith owns Benioff's book -- but does not own shares of (nor is he short), any company named above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (53) | Recommend This Article (90)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 2:10 PM, JeanDavid wrote:

    Even 21 years later, the Exxon Valdez cleanup has not been completed. The killed fish and marine animals have not been brought back to life, and many fishermen have not gotten their jobs back. People continue to find the remaining crude oil very near the surface, under rocks, in the sand ... .

    Will BP do a better job than Exxon? I have no idea, but I doubt it. Recall that legally, other than obeying legally mandated regulations, they must act as fiduciary agents of their shareholders, and act solely in the interest of the shareholders; pension and retirement funds depend on their doing just that. The larger community is not part of their legally mandated duties.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 2:38 PM, TMFKris wrote:

    "Where there are legitimate claims for business interruption, we will make them good." -- There'a a lot of wiggle room in that statement ... legitimate, business interuption, make good. Lawyers, grab your briefcases.

    BP is playing the spin game well, keeping control. It's learned, I hope, from the Exxon Valdez and Toyota and JNJ. But PR is just words. If BP can make Halliburton and Cameron pay for part of this, I'm sure it will.

    And while BP is working to stem the flood of oil, I don't know yet whether its reaction over the 2 weeks has been appropriate and timely.

    Kris -- TMF copyeditor

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 3:45 PM, PeyDaFool wrote:

    Rich, I'd like to hear your opinion if BP is a good buy or not at the current price.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 4:43 PM, plange01 wrote:

    bp is more concerned with getting the oil than stopping it.they should be completely removed from the area.when the wind picks up and the ocean gets rough it will be a total disaster...

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 5:15 PM, hershalsavage wrote:

    I'll agree that BP is doing a better job than many of its O&G industry brethren in prior situations at taking responsibility. The real question(s) (and problem(s) is/are. Did this have to happen in the first place? We know there are tremendous reserves of O&G in the gulf and off the US coastlines..so, is it worth destroying an entire industry (the gulf coast fishing industry) and entire ecosystems to get at it? It's a difficult question and the answer is yes for many..

    If Energy companies spent half as much on planning/prevention of these types of accidents as they do on finding and extracting o&g they simply wouldn't happen. They obviously DO NOT because this stuff keeps happening year after year and nobody seems to learn anything.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 5:22 PM, t0bes wrote:

    We haven't just had words from BP, they seem to be putting a lot of resources into tackling the problem. Obviously time will tell how true to their word they are, but I agree with Rich that it's been refreshing to see executives at such a large corporation not trying to avoid the blame

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 5:45 PM, Curmudgeon44 wrote:

    I think you are rewriting history in your depiction of Exxon and the Valdez accident. Exxon failed to recognize the seriousness of what it did, but that is very different from your picture of "Admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter-accusations." I feel like I am reading a comic book with villians like that.

    In fact I believe you are wrong about your depiction of "any corporation's standard operating procedure". What you describe is the attitude of an irresponsible politician, for whom words are the major reality and dollars and physical reality are to be denied.

    BP has performed moderately well in their words to the press but I really don't think they would ever have credibility in blaming their business partners. Not to mention that unfair blame would result in higher reluctance for some companies to do business with BP in the future. There is not a very long list of contractors the calibre of Halliburton or Transocean in this business.

    It does not help that BP has been conspicuously involved in several very bad accidents and a number of worker deaths, apparently their attitude toward safety is poorer than comparable companies. There is reason to suspect BP has a corporate culture which contributed to the problem (and no I do not think they all are the same way!).

    This is a calamity for the industry the way Three Mile Island was for the nuclear generating industry in 1979. In all probability we will define the industry's history in terms of "before" and "after" the spill. We can expect a strong governmental pushback with new regulations, designed to make sure this particular type of accident would not have happened... let us hope they are fairly good at foreseeing other types of accidents as well. In the case of the nuclear industry, it laid the groundwork for an eventual rebirth. In the case of the oil industry we really have few alternatives to drilling somewhere in the world. But I look forward to some very good safety ideas to be standard as the result of examining this accident in detail.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 5:48 PM, swimtag wrote:

    Clearly many people do not understand the measures taken by companies like BP, Exxon, etc in this day and age when it comes to prevention of things like this. It seems unfathomable that multiple system failures can occur at the same time but, with everything, there is a non-zero chance. I've been reading multiple commentaries about this situation - some putting an amazing assertion that BP intentionally 'cut corners' when it came to prevention -- the money pales in the face of massive billions that to which now BP is exposed. Lets not forget that every oil company that works offshore is just holding their breath, hoping things work out ok.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 7:15 PM, akutach wrote:

    What makes their response even more unexpected is how it differs from the Texas City explosion where they clearly were the only ones to take responsibility. This is how it should go down. Those who sign the lease should take all responsibility. I doubt seriously that BP will eat the expense without litigation with the other companies. However, at the time of crisis, BP should stand up and say, "We're good for the bill so let's get on with fixing the problem. After the situation is resolved, we businesses will work out the final billing."

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 7:42 PM, park94 wrote:

    On the bright side the south paws can clean their shores, it'll give them work and something to do.

    BP will probably be unaffected by this whole accident First because it's a major energy company with ties to the Govt. and Second because nobody cares about those south states to begin with.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 8:13 PM, Steelbow wrote:

    BP is doing what a responsible company should always do: take responsibility. Some of the comments I've read must be from either Sierra Club members or anti-oil companies. BP is currently responsible for the problem and has taken all available action to mitigate the situation. Why all the safety systems have failed is for future determination. Ultimately they are NOT financially responsible for this accident and they will and should go after the subcontractors who are responsible, just like any other "general contractor" would. This is why any general contractor asks subcontractors for certificates of co-insurance. Sub-contractors, after all, are hired for their expertise, why else would they be on the job?

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 9:11 PM, hawkise wrote:

    I live on the Gulf Coast

    I agree the long term deeds of BP will define their response. So far I feel they did the right thing on defining the difference between the clean up and the accident cause.

    You contract experts to do tasks and the process seemed to have caused blowouts elsewhere. I believe BP and TransOcean should have been asking questions instead of blindly accepting Halliburton's methods after a number of problems

    Delegation of tasks does not mean delegation of responsibility.

    TransOcean should be asked why a 1/2 million piece of equipment was not installed in any Ocean rig they build since it is required elsewhere for what reason?

    In the meantime we will have people losing their way of life for this 1/2 million dollar piece of equipment and by the time the courts award any monies it will be long over.

    Yes BP and RIG are buys at this time. I believe in one month after the spill is contained they will return to their former levels prior to the explosion as Exxon did to the Valdez spill.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 10:20 PM, pkluck wrote:

    I'll give the author credit for having nuts. Defending Oil companies is like defending Charles Manson in a lot of peoples minds (not mine). I like Oil companies they give me and what 90% of Americans want cheap energy and a higher standard of living. For all the drilling and transportation of oil going on in the world there are relatively few large spills. How many large oil rig spills have there been in the US in the last 30 years? One? two? Granted I'm not happy about the environmental impact of this one bit, but life is not without risk, and if the oil industry can learn from this it can be safer going forward. Sorry IMO we need to learn from this, make drilling safer and expand drilling.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 11:26 PM, TMFDitty wrote:

    @PeyDaFool: For what it's worth, yes, I like BP at this price. But why settle for just one Fool's opinion?

    One click can take you to BP's CAPS page, where you can poll 3700 investors (many of them a whole lot smarter than I), who've put their reputations on the line, charting BP's course.

    Click and enjoy: http://caps.fool.com/Ticker/BP.aspx

    TMFDitty

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 11:27 PM, TMFDitty wrote:

    @pkluck: Like the man said: "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."

    But thanks. Foolish best,

    TMFDitty

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 1:56 AM, lonelyposeur wrote:

    Looks like park94 needs a boot in his ass worse than all of the rednecks that surround me in this here southern region. Actually we have an abundance of small minds in all forms.. you'd fit right in, my friend.

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 2:08 AM, g42l wrote:

    Time will tell how well the clean-up goes. The Gulf of Mexico is not Valdez, Alaska. Oil-seeps have been occuring for years in the gulf, perhaps this disaster will illuminate some bacteria which has evolved to eat petroleum products in an anarobic environment. Like I said, time will tell, however, I did buy BP today.

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 7:32 AM, devoish wrote:

    I would not say "beyond reproach".

    BP seems to have downplayed or misjudged the size of the leak during the first week. Nor should they be dependent upon NOAA to estimate the size of the leak.

    Why is the "cap" not built and ready before the drilling starts?

    However as someone whose initial reaction was to join in with the environmentalists yelling "i told you so", because they did, I can still recognize that BP is now making a tremendous effort to mitigate the damage.

    I do not care why. If it is to capture and sell the oil leaking out for profit that is just fine with me.

    I don't think that makes them a "buy" here because even with their size I doubt they can finance all the damage that has been done unless they get to set the damage awards.

    IMHO, that becomes a legal/political football now.

    There is still oil found on the shore from the Exxon Valdez accident and in much warmer Louisianna, people will continue to notice.

    One thing for sure is the publicity campaign to reduce public outrage is well under way - see g421 - unless there is some real science behind that comment.

    And pkluck's comment with the "look at what you get it's worth the two big accidents" perspective. A perspctive which completely ignores the CO2 leaking into the atmosphere, the plastic bags swimming the oceans, the plastic water bottles filling the landfills, the BPA filling our drinking water, the atrazine in our water - etc.etc,etc, all made possible by oil.

    I also think that lauding BP for doing better than GS or HAL is setting the bar pretty low for corporate responsibility. Millions of people are willing to give up their SUV's, big screens, and actually clean their own drinking water bottle to help - not just drive to a protest rally.

    And probably like you, I am not willing to give up the plastics that are needed for surgical equipment, or led bulbs.

    I just kind of feel like it is time to stop wasting this valuable resource - oil - by burning it, or making throw away products with it. Actually, I kind of feel like 1980 was the time.

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 9:07 AM, wax wrote:

    Wow Rich, nice pitch for BP.

    So with all of the cheerleading for management in your article, why don't you own any shares of BP and why isn't a Foolish newsletter pick?

    It might be better to reserve your comments until AFTER BP's words have become verifiable actions.

    I know the drill since I work for one of the world's major companies in that business, and your perception is exactly what management wants it to be.

    In the end, BP will do little, we will have a new POTUS, American's will have done nothing to curb their energy consumption, and this incident will have faded from page one to the history books.

    Which is exactly what BP is counting on. I mean are you going to be around in 10 years plus to see if what BP has said they are going to do was actually done?

    Wax

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 9:30 AM, LiveMoney wrote:

    I happen to work for an oil company, and have been doing so for 28 years. I have also spent a lot of time working in operations, drilling wells and such, though not in the GOM. I have even been involved with out of control wells.

    I would just like to say, that most people (including you fools) don't know anything about the oil business, don't have a clue how hard it is to drill deep water wells, and don't even have any idea about what it takes to do so. Believe it or not, the oil business is a high technology business, and drilling these wells is horrendously difficult and expensive undertaking. You don't just poke a hole into the ground and "presto" oil comes out... "goh-llee that was easy!". These GOM deep water wells can cost upwards of $200 million dollars, and that is everything goes right. We use unbelieveable technolgies to do our work in more and more difficult frontiers. So don't underestimate the complexity in these matters.

    Furthermore, the statement that we don't do anything about or learn anything from from our mistakes is outright fabrication. We spend inordinate amount of time and money working on safety and accident prevention. True there are times when there are lapses, and mistakes are made (name one industry that doesn't make a mistake...) and certainly this mistake is no different- I am sure it was preventable, that someone cut corners, or made a blatent error.

    The fact of the matter regarding culpability, is that BP initially DID blame RIG and its other subbies. Also, Hayward lied about the fact that the operator is in CHARGE of EVERYTHING and approves every single procedure, design, and piece of equipment. As a rule, the operator is responsible for the safety of everyone and everything on the rig. Unless someone can find a smoking gun (lapse in procedures), BP will be repsonsible for everything, including the loss of the rig, deaths of workers and damage to the environment, full stop.

    What really concerns me the most about BP is that they have had several major safety breaches in the last decade that in some cases were due to full on management ineptitude and blantant and flagrant missapplication or nonapplication of safety standards and procedures. For this, BP gets no forgiveness from me, or anyone else in the oil industry: they have done a tremendous amount of damage to the whole industry, as bad as it already was. I'd bet $$$$ that the BP company man (the Rig Boss) authorized a shortcut somewhere that will be determined to the the cause. When that comes out, look for BP to take another drop in stock price.

    Before I can feel good about BP, they need to have an internal culture change that examines why they and they alone have had so many accidents in such a short period of time. Until then, expect more of this from them. I strongly disagree that BP is taking the high road, they took the low road by having this problem in the first place. Hayward just belatedly realized what a huge screw up his opening statements were (because he is an idiot with an MBA and actually doesn't know what happens in our business) that he is spending his time doing damage control.

    Recall that it wasn't until public pressure was place on them that they admitted to the publich that they would take care of it. Also, in Federal waters, the operator is LEGALLY responsible for clean up of any spill, regardless of fault, so that is why BP is saying they will clean it up - they have to, any statements other wise could be prosectuted.

    Policy:

    As to the production of oil and gas, I agree with devoish, we should stop burning oil, in the future it will be too valuable to use as fuel. I for one think renewables are the way to go, oil was just good while it was cheap (still is mind you). I think it is better to burn other people's oil at least until renewables are competitive, and save ours for our future petrochemical needs. I for one believe there is enough other people oil in other countries that we don't need to produce our own and leave our pristine offshore areas alone.

    Trivia:

    As a minor matter, oil is a natural substance, and though in environments where is is normally not seen, it does cause a lot of damage, there are places around the world where oil is easily found in its natural form, sitting on the surface, e.g. southern California, and there are already bacteria that can digest oil, so there is no need to "evolve" one. There are even species that depend on oil, believe it or not, "the petroleum fly" comes to mind.

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 11:53 AM, simplicius wrote:

    The sequence of events as I remember them.

    Oil Companies: Drill Baby Drill!

    Environmentalists: No matter what safety provisions are made, Drilling offshore is so inherently risky that it is inevitable that Environmentally destructive spills will occur.

    Oil Companies: The "concerns" are blown way out of proportion. Twenty-first Century technology and redundant precautionary measures means that Drilling Offshore is environmentally safe.

    Environmentalists (post BP spill): We told you so.

    Oil Companies (post BP spill): No matter what safety provisions are made, Drilling offshore is so inherently risky that it is inevitable that Environmentally destructive spills will occur.

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 12:29 PM, dustydad wrote:

    Swift response now is a good thing and blame will be sorted out later. It is too soon to tell for BP. Are they worse than others? Safety has to be forced on corporations it cannot be governed simply by annual accounting and cost savings. If BP is allowed to wash this off their books like Exxon did we will see this happen again. The supreme court failed the American people in the case of Exxon Valdez the penalties were not high enough. That is why the President of BP says we will make it right, he is confident in limited liability. An ounce of prevention seems worth a billion ounces of cleanup when it comes to oil.

    Spill response is what happens when we drop a jug of milk. This is an ecological disaster, marine devastation and a financial nightmare for this region. Right now it is only "3% of the gulf of Mexico" ha!. The oil effects will be felt 1000s of miles away for years and years to come. The true failure here is we do not account for the cost of oil (or other so called cheap energy). It is more expensive than we think and cheap oil is curbing energy innovation.

    It will be time to add up the costs when it is truly safe for our children to play on the beaches, dig in the sand and eat the seafood from the affected areas. Will BP even be around then?

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 1:52 PM, twofoldpath wrote:

    I can't disagree with the article's perspective more. The best of the worst is still not worth lauding, which is the essential effect of the article despite its meager efforts at qualification.

    Many powerful people are very at fault, and they are so with our complicity. BP is certainly one of the chief failers - or actually, the probably succeeded in everything but the actual fact of the explosion. Focus on soley the response of the last two weeks misunderstands the systemic culpability.

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/237651?from=rss&utm_source=fe...

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 2:41 PM, TMFDitty wrote:

    @simplicius: Love it. Well put.

    And yet... I notice you've picked Atwood and Unit Corp to outperform... :)

    TMFDitty

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 2:54 PM, park94 wrote:

    @simplicius Yeah very good. At least someone here has a clear mind of the argumentation logic being used.

    And the conclusion is as I mentioned earlier, who cares about the southern states. Miss. and Lousiana anybody could care less, they aren't worth much, the only worth they have is because of drilling to begin with. BP and HAL are going to be just fine they didn't waste much money securing that negligent drill, and people will continue to buy their stock. Everybody wins.

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 4:48 PM, karenbe111 wrote:

    What a crock! You must be on BP's payroll!

  • Report this Comment On May 09, 2010, at 12:17 AM, Curmudgeon44 wrote:

    Maybe we should say... FOUR cheers for all the oil companies who are NOT British Petroleum! I cannot bring myself to cheer for the company which is bringing shame to its entire industry.

  • Report this Comment On May 09, 2010, at 10:36 AM, jimdra wrote:

    I wonder what the Group of BP shareholders that were dissing the participation of BP in the canadian oilsands think of the risks now. All of the governers and mayors that think the oilsands is a bad idea should all go for a swim in the gulf and see if that was so much better.

  • Report this Comment On May 09, 2010, at 11:16 AM, ifool100 wrote:

    Well, I think you're right. BP is doing what BP does, make money. (It's right there in the fine print in the obligation to shareholders.) As Warren Buffet put it - if you open the door to the tiger cage and the tiger gets out and eats someone - who's fault is it? Well, It's the zoo keepers fault. The tiger is just doing what tigers do. BP is a like a child driving a truck. When it crashes, the child feels bad for a while, but soon forgets and continues on it's way. What's lacking is the parent. As responsible adults I think we need to ask ourselves, do we feel good supporting this type of dysfunction? Is it the money worth it?

  • Report this Comment On May 09, 2010, at 1:33 PM, ikkyu2 wrote:

    This is all a lot of chin music.

    If you're going to make an argument, here's what it has to be: Drilling for oil must stop. Now you have to prove that the catastrophic effects on human society of losing the world's energy infrastructure is outweighed by the cost of occasional oil spills. Show your work.

    Can't do it? Then you better zip it. Oil powers your lights, your car, the computer you're using to read this, the wires that send your arguments against oil over the Internet for other people to read. You might have an opinion, but it's not a credible opinion until you're expressing it while shivering, naked and hungry, in a cave.

  • Report this Comment On May 09, 2010, at 4:36 PM, rwchapman wrote:

    Yes, most assuredly, I agree - this is an atypical, grown-up and much-needed response to an environmental crisis. I commend BP for their courage. I'm sure that corporate counsel did not condone their statements; instead, BP management ignored it and chose to instead DO THE RIGHT THING.

    Also, let us not forget that every time we pull up to gas pump, we are all voting for oil and gas exploration; we must all assume part of the responsibility rather than just point fingers.

  • Report this Comment On May 10, 2010, at 4:43 AM, PoundMutt wrote:

    The future eruption of the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park will make our current pollution problems irrelevent. Life on earth as we know it will be ended.

    PS That eruption is overdue!

  • Report this Comment On May 10, 2010, at 7:19 AM, broadmoor wrote:

    It is early. The first attempt at a partial fix failed. The extent of the damage is not known. Haywood, while accepting responsibility, certainly and definitively informed all that the rig belonged to Transocean.

    Rich, you issue props, kudos, a loud, huge "hip hip, hooray" for BP simply because it did not act unabashedly reprehensibly. Does it surprise you that much? Even if this approach is totally sincere, not just a public relations gambit, how bad would things have to get before pressure from influential BP shareholders might force it to act differently from how it speaks? We do not know what interactions are now occurring between the two companies. How shocking would it be for Transocean to acknowledge fault, shame, dishonor, and commit seppuku?

  • Report this Comment On May 10, 2010, at 1:14 PM, mikecart1 wrote:

    BP is a BUY BUY BUY. If you don't BUY, you are the ones in the stands watching BAC and other banks fly by. If that is the case move out of the way and let the master buy BP!!

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2010, at 1:17 PM, JustMee01 wrote:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0506/Gulf-oil-spill-Did-Bi...

    "...BP, which has recently championed a "green" campaign, has one of Big Oil's worst US safety records. It had to pay record fines for the 2005 Texas City Refinery accident, and investigators found the company had taken shortcuts that led to a major pipeline leak in Alaska that same year. Last week, the White House canceled an event where BP was scheduled to be given a government safety award."

    Gee. While their PR is exemplary, they are beginning to look a lot like Toyota. No substance, just a lot of deep bowing and promises.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2010, at 1:45 PM, Curmudgeon44 wrote:

    As of today, the headlines are full of BP placing the blame with others. Perhaps it was too soon for "three cheers".

    I think partner RIG is probably a good buy at today's prices, but operationally RIG has a lot to apologize for and I certainly expect to see some big improvements in its safety record over the next couple of years.

    I would not buy BP any more than I would have bought Union Carbide just after they killed thousands of Indian citizens. There is a "sleep at night" problem with it.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2010, at 4:08 PM, vktatkar wrote:

    Egg on your face yet?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100511/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_...

    Immediately after "I know I forgot to do the homework, but at least I'm not claiming the dog ate it, like everyone else does" defense, comes news that the dog may indeed have eaten the HW.

    Shame on BP. Its dangerous to claim that a company has morals; you never know when you'll have egg on its face.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2010, at 2:27 PM, hbofbyu wrote:

    To hate oil is to hate your standard of living. It is to hate that you can get from LA to New York in 5 hours for less than the cost of a days wages. It is to hate that you can live in Phoenix in July and be at a confortable 72 degrees in your office. It is to hate the vast distribution network that can provide abundant food and fresh produce to every corner of every state in this country within 72 hours.

    We can always improve, but airplanes will still crash, fires still happen, and oil will still spill. And the next nuclear power accident is only a matter of "when" not "if". The only way insure 100% no accidents is to not attempt.

    Without oil this world doesn't turn.

  • Report this Comment On May 13, 2010, at 5:09 PM, yosemitebean wrote:

    Rich - I have never been a big fan of BP, but if you say buy, I'll buy. Thanks for the tip.

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2010, at 8:02 AM, MoneyWorksforMe wrote:

    I suggest you fools wait until the leak is contained before commending BP on the job it has done thus far. It seems they have succeeded most in keeping a veil over the entire incident. Five thousand barrels a day? More like 10 or 20 times that. This catastrophe will easily dwarf the Exxon Valdez crisis. It's time for BP to concede defeat, step down, and let real engineers and scientists devise a solution.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/us/14oil.html

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2010, at 11:04 AM, mmddw wrote:

    The writer is living on another planet....maybe a greener one as well...BP has behaved miserably in response to this disaster...and still no plan to contain it...the CEO's appearance before Congress this week reminded me of John Gotti....i take that back....Gotti had more integrity.

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2010, at 11:24 AM, rbbrfish wrote:

    Responding to one's mistakes is one thing, but why not adopt a mindset that PRECLUDES the possibility making these kinds of conscionable errors. You know, something that goes beyond worship of the bottom line? "Voluntary compliance" be damned.

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2010, at 11:47 AM, JSMBAPhD wrote:

    This judgment is premature. Wait until we see what the fine print on "we will take care of this" actually means. It may very well mean that "we'll wait until the fuss dies down, throw some dimes to the crowd, and take off.

    Remember that BP is already under criminal indictment for multiple misdeeds. Sometimes crooks will say anything to escape even greater punishment.

    From what we know, Halliburton and Transocean are probably also significantly culpable.

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2010, at 12:09 PM, WiserTomorrow wrote:

    Drilling for oil is a risky business and we will continue to have these spills until the organisations set up to prevent them operate properly with total regard to safety, not cost.

    Flying was a very much more risky business and whilst planes still do crash, they don’t crash because of known ‘possible’ problems. The FAA sees to that – REGARDLESS OF COST.

    If an airline can’t afford required safety changes, the aircraft is not then grounded, it simply stays where it is already – grounded!

    Yes it would be very expensive to prevent all possible oils spills, just like it is very expensive to prevent air crashes.

    The oil industry must accept responsibility and spend whatever it takes to prevent it happening again. Belt and braces are required, not the current elastic waist band that works just 99.99% of the time.

    BP seem to be doing a pretty good job, they could be using the same Shyster lawyers that all big corporations seem to employ these days, but they aren’t yet…

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2010, at 1:13 PM, kmjx wrote:

    I beg to differ. Last night Jon Stewart showed a BP exec laying the blame on Transocean, who blamed Haliburton who put the blame on Cameron. They probably all have some fault and no one seems willing to accept it.

    Second, BP is notorious for safety valuations. This is not the first "accident" it caused - just the worst. After every other one BP promised to clean up its act but obviously never did.

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2010, at 2:33 PM, kally22350 wrote:

    Every one who drives a car is to culpable for this tradegy, there is no easy oil left!

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2010, at 6:39 PM, steve20423 wrote:

    Here are some facts:

    You know what comapny was repsonsible for emergency spill response in Alaska where the Exxon Valdez had the spill?

    Answer BP.

    Easy to say mea culpa after the industry lobbied and received a 75Million doillar liability cap.

    They cut corners RIG, HAL and BP because there is financial incentive to do so.

    If they were betting the corporate and (ceo and the rest of the boeard) personal farms each time they were taking excessive risk they would be more careful and these accsidents would never happen. Proof they have no plan is the simpleton devices they are trying to throw at this leak. I understand its' in deep water but they should have a plan before they start to drill.

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2010, at 11:33 PM, EBerg13 wrote:

    Those defending Exxon need to realize that the company still hasn't paid more than a few cents on the dollar for the damage they caused in Alaska. BP is acting far more admirably - so far. Time will tell. I am a BP stockholder, by the way, but I am also an environmentalist. We are all making such a big deal of this because it affects OUR coast. Off the coast of Africa massive leaks like this are commonplace. No one complains about those. Off European coasts, drilling coexists with fishing but there are far more safeguards, at least so far. Hopefully, the US will begin to actually regulate this industry. But in the end, we have to reduce our dependence on oil ... no matter WHERE it comes from.

  • Report this Comment On May 15, 2010, at 12:57 PM, rwk2008 wrote:

    From the tone of this article, I can only assume that the writer is in the pay of BP. Either that, or he fails to have even a room temperature IQ.

    BP is clearly responsible for a great deal of shoddy work, avoidance of proper precautions, and outright bribery of both elected and regulatory officials. Further, executives have fallen over themselves to try to absolve themselves and the company from any blame.

    For shame, both BP and Mr. Smith.

  • Report this Comment On May 16, 2010, at 2:12 AM, MyDonkey wrote:

    40 amazing photos of the spill:

    http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/05/disaster_unfolds_sl...

    BP has been in denial about the spill's flow rate since the beginning. The government and BP originally claimed that the leak was about 1,000 barrels a day. A small organization called SkyTruth, which uses satellite images to monitor environmental problems, published an estimate on April 27 suggesting a flow rate of at least 5,000 barrels a day, and probably several times that. The following day, the government -- over public objections from BP -- raised its estimate to 5,000 barrels a day (about 210,000 gallons) .

    The spill has since been re-estimated independently by at least four scientists, whose estimates range from about 26,000 to 85,000 barrels a day (or about 1 million to 3.5 million gallons).

    Two oceanographers who routinely measure the flow rate from hot-water vents on the ocean floor volunteered to go to the leak site to get an accurate measurement of the leak's flow rate, but were told by BP officials to stay away. BP senior vice president Kent Wells said "There's just no way to measure it." and BP spokesman Tom Mueller said "We're not going to take any extra efforts now to calculate flow there at this point. It's not relevant to the response effort."

    Assuming an actual flow rate on the low end of the scientists' estimate of about 25,000 barrels a day (roughly 1 million gallons) -- which is 5 times BP's latest figure -- the total volume of leaked oil has already surpassed 23 million gallons. That's more than twice the volume of the Exxon Valdez spill, which was about 11 million gallons.

  • Report this Comment On May 16, 2010, at 10:15 PM, jwaymoo wrote:

    I agree with Rich Smith. I own 3,000 shares of BP and was considering selling, but decided to hold after observing BP's up-front admission of ultimate responsibility even though its contractors were directly involved in causing the accident, and checking to confirm that BP would be able to handle the estimated financial hit within its cash flow without impacting dividends.

  • Report this Comment On May 16, 2010, at 10:20 PM, jlclayton wrote:

    "This wasn't our accident. This was a drilling rig operated by another company. It was their people, their systems, their processes."

    While trying to look as though they are accepting responsibility, what they basically said was, "We are totally not taking any blame because it was all somebody else's fault." Just because they followed it up with statements that it's their duty to help with the situation, doesn't mean we should give them credit for taking responsibility. It just means that when all is said and done, they want everybody looking at them as the good guys. And since their safety record in many of their refineries is very bad, it sounds to me like they know they had something to do with the disaster and are getting better at working public perception--they've had a lot of practice, unfortunately, in dealing with catastrophic events.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2010, at 4:49 PM, Curmudgeon44 wrote:

    Down to two cheers yet?

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