Is BP doing very good PR with containment?

I’m not talking about containing the huge, rapidly expanding oil slick that is going to do severe damage to the fishery at the mouth of the Mississippi River.  I’m talking about the backlash against BP.

Heck, there isn’t even a backlash, if you look at the media coverage, I would swear that this spill was by Exxon. Don’t believe me?  Check out the front page of The Drudge Report:

Front page of DrudgeReport.com on April 30, 2010

See any mention of BP who operated the rig that caught fire, burned and is spilling oil? Or TransOcean LTD that owns it? Think that’s an isolated example? Check out the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Take a look at that article. Exxon is mention in the third paragraph. Do you see mention of BP? They are mentioned, along with TransOcean, three paragraphs later. Online this is below the first screen, and in print, it was on the next page jump. In other words, WHERE NO ONE READS IT!

My question here is why?  Why is Exxon being pilloried again?  Want to string someone up? Get BP on the gallows, but leave Exxon out of this one.

PS – thanks to Holland for the kick to write this post

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One thought on “Is BP doing very good PR with containment?

  1. BP probably are doing a far superior PR job than was the case of Exxon during the Valdez disaster.

    Environmental and local community catastrophe apart, Exxon’s handling of that affair has gone down in the PR annals as one of the worst examples of crisis management. And that stemmed from the then President, who made enormous gaffs and throughout the organsiation.

    The oil industry learnt loads about how not to handle a similar crisis.

    None of the PR or technical nowhow minimises the environmental impact, effect on communities and livings, of these mega disasters.

    Not only do BP have a good PR setup, they are generally held to be a good corporate citizen. They have put their eggs, and a bundle of investment, into being an environmentally forward looking company. So they have a lot to lose and they know it.

    On top of that they are considered a leader in terms of technology and engineering and Andy Inglis, BP’s number two, based in Houston and in charge of operations, is an engineer and highly regarded in the industry.

    Chief executive Andy Haywood’s visit coincides with President Obama’s and you can be sure that he will be politicing to persuade the President to make available state of the art deepwater technology owned by the US military. Haywoood is also on record as saying these catastrophies are industry problems. And he’s right. Scurrying around trying to save face is worhless while millions of barrels of oil wash up on protected shorlines.

    And I see that a bunch of oil majors, including Exxon, are pitching in with technical ideas and resources.

    No one’s a winner in this and never will be. If BP – and I hope they’re not – are putting the PR before the engineering it will lead to a much worse PR outcome for them. Personally, I think they’ve got too much at stake and will muster all the techno knowhow in the US and the world to deal with this as best as is possible. I doubt if that will be good enough for anyone. As far as I know BP’s insurances are good for the $3 billion dollars being quoted for the clean up and damages costs, so cash shouldn’t be an issue.

    Oil giants will never be society’s friends. You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. If we have to have them, best to have ones who don’t run away from their responsibilities.

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