Hit or miss? BP responds to Gulf of Mexico explosion and oil spill

Fire and water BP has been hauled over the coals after an explosion on a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico last week.

The British energy behemoth acknowledged it was 'absolutely responsible' for cleaning up the spill, but insisted it was not to blame for the accident that sank the Deepwater Horizon rig, killing 11 men. Instead the oil giant laid the blame on the failed equipment, which was owned and operated by drilling firm Transocean.


Malcolm Gooderham, MD, TLG Communications

There are potentially many winners and losers from this disaster. As it stands, BP and 'big oil' are losing. The former is struggling to be heard in US media. The latter is learning how shallow its political support is.

Television is informing and shaping perceptions. BP needs to ensure that it claims as much face-time as possible with US viewers, in much the same way as BA boss Willie Walsh during the union and ash episodes. Chief executive Tony Hayward still has time to confirm his leadership qualities.

Longer-term, Hayward and his PR team need to define Hayward's BP. Parts of the media have reduced his strategy to 'not being John Browne'. The virtue of Browne's tenure was that despite the disasters, he is revered because of his strategic achievements. The challenge for BP today is to define a new thought leadership agenda. - MISS

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