A gripping and eye-opening account of a corporation in crisis, setting the spill in its broader context within the history of BP and big oil
In April 2010, the world watched in alarm as BP's Macondo well suffered a fatal explosion and a catastrophic leak. Over the next three months, amid tense scenes of corporate and political finger-pointing, millions of barrels of crude oil dispersed across the Gulf of Mexico in what became one of the worst oil spills in history. But there is more to BP's story than this. Tom Bergin, an oil broker turned Reuters reporter, watched the "two-pipeline company" of the early 1980s grow into a dynamic oil giant and PR machine by the turn of the 21st century. His unique access to key figures within BP, including former CEO Tony Hayward, has enabled him to piece together the story of a corporation in crisis. He takes readers back nearly 30 years to explain how a company that was almost destroyed by privatization and the oil-price crash of the late 1980s was able to transform itself into the industry's most dynamic player, and most sophisticated PR machine, by the turn of the 21st century. At the same time, he examines how crucial decisions made during this remarkable turnaround period paved the way for BP's darkest hour.