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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Learning From ‘Public Relations Disasters’

Written by  ED DEVLIN, CBCP April 26, 2011

A year after the Exxon Valdez oil spill a national magazine indicated that one of the positive lessons learned from Exxon’s experience was that all oil companies had learned how to avoid a “public relations disaster.”As I reviewed the BP Oil Co.’s handling of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill during 2010, I thought about the magazine’s comment and wondered where the BP executives were during the Exxon experience. They obviously didn’t learn how to avoid a “public relations disaster.”Let me review BP’s incident. The Deepwater Horizon was a giant oil drilling rig, built in 2001 and moored about 48 miles off the Louisiana coast. It could hold a crew of 130 people. The rig involved several companies – Transocean Ltd., who owned the rig; Halliburton, the oil services contractor who capped the well; and BP Oil, who leased the rig from Transocean and owned the oil.On April 20,

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