Deepwater Horizon: Spilling Oil, Money and Trust
On April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon - a floating, semi-submersible, dynamically-positioned drilling unit - exploded after a massive natural gas gusher from a natural reservoir located more than 13,000 feet under the sea floor. The explosion killed 11 people working on the platform and injured 17 others. After the explosion, an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico over a period of 87 days, causing unprecedented damage to the environment and to the local economy. After the accident, BP's top management had to deal with at least three critical issues. First, understanding who should be responsible for setting proper safety standards. Is this the responsibility of the MMS or BP? Second, it had to design an international safety regulation. Should BP adopt homogeneous safety standards around the world, or should it just adapt to local legislation? Third, it faced defining its role and responsibility in the safety standards of its operational partners. Should BP be responsible for imposing safety standards on its contractors around the world?