BP Just Wants to Be Loved (and to Not Pay for the Gulf Oil Spill)

Categories: Environment

320px-Deepwater_Horizon_offshore_drilling_unit_on_fire_2010.jpg
Photo from Wikipedia
The folks over at British Petroleum want the world to know they feel real bad about that explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico back in 2010. Last week, the company even took out a nice-sized ad in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post saying as much.

It seems they wanted to make it clear that they feel just terrible about that oil spill in the Gulf. Seriously. Even as they are fighting against paying out a whole bunch of money for that oil spill thing, BP still wants everyone to like them.

The company took out those full-page advertisements in the nation's largest newspapers to make their case that the formula being used to give out settlement payments is not valid, despite being upheld by a district judge earlier this year.

"Whatever you think about BP, we can all agree that it's wrong for anyone to take money they don't deserve," the ad stated.

The London-based company has had something of a rough time of it in the public image world since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, killing 11 workers and starting a massive oil spill that lasted for weeks as engineers struggled to figure out how exactly one goes about capping an oil well down at the bottom of the ocean.


Of course, the aftermath of one of the worst oil spills in history was a tango in the legal world where those impacted by the spill tried to get BP to pay up and BP lawyers did their best to try to keep the cost as low as possible. (This is a fish/swim, bird/fly, company/dodge situation - it's just how these things tend to go.)

In April, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier agreed with a court-appointed claims administrator's interpretation of how the company was to pay out a multi-billion settlement to the plaintiffs. BP's lawyers appealed the decision which is now slated to be reviewed by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals next Monday.

The thing is, BP just wants to be loved, or at least - and this is really a sensible strategy for any mammoth corporation - to be looked on by the public as a benign, caring public entity.

They even sponsored the 2012 London Olympics, noting in an advertisement that touted their efforts to offset the carbon footprint of the event by various means, including "energy-rich grasses" that emit less carbon when burned. (The TV spot also features South African runner Oscar Pistorious, among other athletes - you know the BP people must have been slapping hands to forehead about that now that the famed athlete, who runs on blades, has been accused of murdering his girlfriend.)


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