7.6.10

BP Loves You (or How Tony Hayward Sleeps at Night)

You've seen the pictures.  The oil vomiting forth into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  That doesn't seem real.  The large slick on the water (sort of like what you see in parking lots on a rainy day, only darker and thicker).  That doesn't seem real.  The things that are vaguely bird-shaped, yet dripping in something that looks like mud.  That starts to look a little more real.

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward told BBC his company is well on its way to containing most of the oil from the 4/20/10 rig explosion.  I'm sure he's not lying.

"We are going to stop the leak, we are going to clean up the oil, we're going to remediate any environmental damage, and we're going to return the Gulf coast to the position it was in prior to this event. That's an absolute commitment, and we will be there long after the media has gone, making good on our promises," he says.

The company's track record has been pretty good so far.  It's pretty much failing at everything it tries.  That bodes well not only for the actual Gulf of Mexico, but also the residents of the coast and all those little critters we need to keep the environment balanced.  They should all be fine.  A little oil never hurt anyone.  Shit, you get dirtier playing football ... and that's more dangerous, too.  Besides, nobody should be drinking water from the Gulf of Mexico.  That shit's too dirty.  It's got oil in it and like 85,000 water bottles.

So who cares if a bit of oil (oil that will be contained according to Hayward) gets in it?  I mean, we can trust these guys, right?

Hayward is actually the good guy.  He's looking out for us.  In fact, his rise to power at BP was due in part to him blasting (no pun intended) BP management after an explosion at an oil refinery in Texas that killed 15 and hurt close to 200 more.  Hayward said BP's leadership style was too directive and didn't listen well.  The heads of the corporation didn't listen to what those below them were saying.

We've all had bosses who don't listen to the workers and don't know how to run the joint.  Orders get screwed up.  The schedule is a mess.  In BP's case people die.  You say "deadly explosion."  BP says "tiny mishap."

Happens all the time ... when you're BP.

Besides, Hayward states BP will make good and clean up the mess.  Granted, they initially said the spill was very minor and "relatively tiny" in size when compared to the great big ocean.

I'm sure the shrimpers agree.

I'm sure conspiracy theorists will find it odd that a month before the explosion Hayward sold one third of his shares in BP stock.  I mean, the only way he could know something might happen is if there were internal reports that said if BP continued on the path it was on, a breakdown of the system was likely.

That would be unethical.

The blast in Texas, which was felt from up to five miles away, was in a refinery with a history of safety problems.  In fact, the year before the fatal explosion, there was another one there that was less spectacular but still large enough to get the company a fine.

I'm sure BP did its homework since then on safety issues.  I'm sure somewhere there is a safety report on the rig that exploded in the Gulf.  After all, several executives from other companies involved with the rig have stated they told BP there were issues.

If you had those reports, and you knew BP's fine safety history, what would you do with your stock?  BP actually has one of the worst safety records in the industry, and as a 2006 US Chemical and Hazard Investigation Board report found, BP actually knew of the safety problems at the Texas City refinery before the explosion there. 

Knew about it before the explosion?  A safety record that one source claims "lags" behind its peers.  Man, I wonder what that internal report on the destoryed rig says?  Hayward, upon hearing of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, reportedly asked his executives, "What the hell did we do to deserve this?"

I'm guessing what they did was ignore a history of safety violations and some record-breaking motherfucking fines. 

Anyone with half a brain can see the odds, and would know that a drop in stock prices would be concomitant to any kind of large-scale explosion.  What is unknown is whether or not Hayward read those reports (my guess is that safety, as witnessed by history, may not have been on the BP executives' minds) and whether or not he sold his stock in a gamble that ultimately paid off.  Yeah, it's possible nothing could have happened and he would've possibly lost money, but I'd be curious as to why he sold it.  That, I believe, hasn't been answered.

But then again, BP's safety record is spotty at best.  This could have happened at any one of its rigs or plants.  Unless, of course, that report detailed just how likely it was to occur in the Gulf of Mexico.

And what did Hayward do with the proceeds from the coincidental stock sale?  He paid off the mortgage on his mansion in Kent. England ... far away from the oil-slicked Gulf of Mexico.

Funny how those things turn out, isn't it?

2 comments:

drj v2010 said...

Though I seldom turn on the tele for anything other than gaming, I did have it on for its own sake yesterday and a public announcement was made by Hayward. I know nothing about him or his background or dealings but I wanted to punch him. Having read this piece, I have an idea why.
There isn't a fine grand enough. Shut em down.

-Doug Brunell "America's Favorite Son" said...

I think he and the other executives should be covered in the oil they've spilt and then lit on fire. Just a suggestion. The environmental and economic damage they have caused is unacceptable by even the most conservative standards.