Bp Oil Spill Response Essay

1314 words - 6 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

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 and contractors for BP recorded more than 6,100 dead birds, 2,200 of which were visibly oiled. They also recorded more than 600 dead sea turtles, 18 of which were visibly oiled” (Bryant, 2011). Neglecting to focus on the death of animals, or displaying scenes of damaged beaches is BP’s attempt to show that the damage wasn’t that harmful. BP's strategy to repair its reputation is to get people to forget that it is the one to blame for damage which exhibits Coombs’ “Justification” strategy of diminishing the negative impact of a crisis (Coombs, 2007). Thus, by drawing attention away from the crisis in its video, BP avoids displaying negative images and focuses on all the positive work it has done to bring back business in the Gulf’s tourism industry.
The heading and sub-heading titles on the “Gulf of Mexico Restoration” website are emphasized by powerful language that portray the company in a positive way in order to take the focus away from the damage of the crisis and onto the restoration efforts. Powerful words include: restoring, supporting, committed, rehabilitation, recovery, and response. These...

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