Journalism in the Public Interest

The Documentary BP Wants You to Disregard

In a speech today, BP CEO Robert Dudley warned London’s business leaders that an upcoming report and documentary from ProPublica and PBS FRONTLINE would paint an unflattering picture of the company’s safety record. He defended BP’s record on safety but said the company would continue to work to improve.


Story: Furious Growth and Cost Cuts Led To BP Accidents Past and Present

In a speech today, BP CEO Robert Dudley warned London's business leaders that an upcoming report and documentary from ProPublica and PBS FRONTLINE would paint an unflattering picture of the company’s safety record. He defended BP’s record on safety but said the company would continue to work to improve.

Speaking at an annual British business conference, Dudley said:

“The company had changed very significantly after the events of Texas City in 2005. So I do not believe that BP is an unsafe company. There will be some documentaries run, I think tomorrow night in the US, that paints that picture of the company.”

ProPublica and PBS FRONTLINE having been working since June on a documentary about BP’s safety record that will air on most PBS stations at 9 p.m. Tuesday. (Check local listings). ProPublica will also publish an investigation detailing the company’s missteps and one EPA attorney’s decade-long effort to force BP to improve its operations and comply with federal law.

In response to a question after his speech, Dudley said that BP will focus more on safety, in part because of public perception and pressure to do so.

“What I will say is, we have no choice. We need to do everything we can to avoid any kind of industrial event like this so we’re just going to move to yet another higher standard on this to make sure we have additional checks and balances. People say ‘You’re going to ruin the performance of the business’ but right now I think we just need to make sure we understand the risks completely through our business and put in place an organization that will provide yet another system of checks and balances. […] Everyone’s very serious about this, I don’t think this is going to be a difficult thing to further embed in the organization.”

Since those comments weren’t part of Dudley’s prepared remarks, they don’t appear in the version posted on BP’s website.

Three days before his speech in London, Dudley declined to testify before a House committee that is investigating the BP explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

“As I am sure you can imagine,” he wrote to the committee, “I have an enormous amount of work to do transitioning into this role and am very focused on ensuring the right decisions are made for the future of the company and the safety of our workforce.”

Nancy Pinkertone

Oct. 25, 2010, 12:50 p.m.

BP’s CEO Robert Dudley has Okayed the use the BPCares websites to continue its online PR campaign.
This decision was unanimously agreed upon in conjunction with the BPAMA at their recently concluded meeting. The BPAMA marketers were assured of a deeper partnership by CEO Bob Dudley during a one-on-one with the marketers.  Mr. Dudley pointed out to the members that they will not be abandoned; rather… they will receive the full support from BP’s marketing machine to crush the competitors like Exxon, Shell and Chevron.
BP will use a bevy of various BPCares websites (said the Marketing V.P) to target specific markets in the US and around the world; “We will crush Exxon, Shell and Chevron… its War and personal”. The domains that BP will use are as follows:
BP will collaborate with the BPAMA with regards to the execution of specific websites. The websites will be up soon and some of the websites will target the Southern States that suffered heavily from the oil spill.

Alyssa Martinez

Oct. 25, 2010, 3:52 p.m.

When I visited the sites listed above it seems as though someone else has purchased them. You get re-directed to Interesting that they have purchased the web addresses listed above. Wonder if they beat BP to the punch.

They also need to quit pouring millions of dollars into their PR campaign. The people of the Gulf Coast are suffering tremendously and it looks as though its only going to continue to get worse. They are starting to run out of food, there way of life is gone as they know it, charities are running out of donations because there has been such a media blackout its faded from american attention spans, and above all of that their own government has failed them tremendously. The assistance isn’t there for these people to recover and more than likely it never will be because of their great PR work. BP needs to be out of PR mode and into come and get your check mode. They will keep doing this until mainstream media forces accountability in our government and our corporations. Until then, the Gulf Coast will be forgotten and disregarded. A Vanity Fair blog said it best, “The least important worst disaster in history.” The BP Deepwater Horizon disaster will continue on for years and more than likely decades and what happens in the first few is critical to the people and the ecosystem of the Gulf Coast.

@Nancy, it’s easy to see why they picked that list, as all 6 domain names are owned by a single person: (also via the wayback machine, eventually)

“Industrial event”?  What is Dudley describing, a Las Vegas convention?  I think what he meant to say was “avoidable deadly explosion leading to a protracted environmental disaster and life-changing financial hardships for a multitude of middle class Americans.”

Vanishing America

Oct. 26, 2010, 7:22 p.m.

Finding out “why” it happened and sharing that with the world is great. National Geographic did it in last month’s magazine and PBS is doing it this month in a documentary. I love it.

But what about what happens next? BP is leaving the coast. They have concluded that the cleanup is complete and our government is accepting that declaration. The coast and the Gulf are NOT clean. BP still has a very long way to go. Why is that part of this nasty equation being ignored?

Please don’t forget the people of the Gulf, they are already not paying our claims in a timely manner , legit claims ( hotel security guard on gulf coast beach that got hit with actual oil and tarballs). If we are forgotten and fall out of the public eye we could become the next Exxon Valdez, 20 years later some of them are STILL waiting….

People need to call and write every congressman and legislator in those southern states, and say they want results to regulate, force compliance and oversee the oil industry.  Sadly, BP did not even begin to learn their lesson after the disaster at the oil refinery in Texas, where they were humiliated and had to pay a big fine.  The disaster in the gulf shows that they. Do not expect to have to be accountable or taxed, or fined, for their behavior. 
The real victims are the residents along the coast. People need to keep their congressional representatives on a very short leash about this issue.

In my opinion this BP disaster is THE greatest oil disaster of any time and as it travels around the globe it will kill extensive amounts of marine life especially the plankton that lives near the poles breaking the food chain cycle. I believe the government scientist know this already but will hide their finding from the public. The corporations will use this as a excuse to market bio-engineered fish at high prices. The oil companies will continue to drill in the gulf using the rationale that “the gulf is dead already and they cannot do further harm” and therefore no environmental impact statements will be required. The Obama government will prohibit the release of all sensitive documents about this incident but years from now when this and other information becomes available it would not suprise me to learn that these incidents were done deliberately to embarrass and ridicule the Obama administration while solidifying their corporate control over the food and energy resources of the planet. We the people are naive to believe the senators and representatives in our government would allow the “change” promised during the 2008 election.

I understand and worry that you may be correct, but I also have a lot of hope that people are not so apathetic or ignorant as they were in the past, and that the great majority of people in the South are not as manipulable by politicians as they used to be.  I have great hope that the awakening of the electorate to what happened with Katrina, and now THIS, will be enough to push them to push the legislators to act “FOR” the people.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:

Gulf Oil Spill

The BP oil disaster in the Gulf has had untold health, economic and environmental effects.

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