BP today was found grossly negligent in its connection with the 2010 deepwater horizon disaster. It is a most surprising result and will continue to hang over the head of the company, at least until the amount of the fines that BP will have to pay under the Clean Water Act are finally determined, making the stock – again – impossible to own.
But this isn’t a column about BP. It’s a column about corporate responsibility in the oil patch and what companies can expect -- even when they have done their utmost to atone for an admitted negligent mistake. And the message being sent is anything but good.
The Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico was the largest oil spill in US history, spewing 2m to 5m barrels of oil into the Gulf, costing 11 lives and disrupting the livelihoods of hundreds of businesses along the Gulf coast. During the 87 days following the disaster as oil and gas spewed, the horror and uncertainty made the event clearly the most seminal in offshore exploration, bringing about a new wave of regulations and fear of deepwater drilling and it’s inherent risks.
There is no denying, from the facts of the case, that BP was negligent and liable in the massive spill – they have admitted that themselves.
But since that spill, the Gulf of Mexico has shown a remarkable ability to heal itself and validated the use of massive dispersants and boom corralling techniques…