Essays on Risk Analysis of the BP Oil Spill Case Study

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The paper 'Risk Analysis of the BP Oil Spill" is a great example of a business case study.   Environmental pollution has been on the agenda of most international conferences since it has been realised that environmental protection should be incorporated into the national plans of nations. Many treaties have been signed as a way of nations committing themselves to environmental protection and management. Environmental pollution occurs through atmospheric emissions, release in water such as oil spills and land pollution through dumping of waste and deforestation. The British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that happened the 20th of April 2010 was a great environmental disaster.

This disaster was caused by the rupturing of the 5,000 feet wellhead and the failure of the remote-operated robot submarines to close the emergency valves so as to prevent oil flow (Greenpeace n. d). The oil explosion led to eleven fatalities and crude oil losses of about 1,000 barrels per day. The marshes and beaches along the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida were heavily affected by these oil spills. The BP Company accepted responsibility and said that it would compensate for fro the damage as well as take mitigation measures to alleviate the impacts of the oil spill both on humans and the environment. The BP deepwater horizon was speculated to have been caused by several factors that are both human and technical.

According to Lepsinger (2010, p. 2), there are four key failures that contributed to the occurrence of this complex and tragic event. Firstly, there was a lack of coordination between different companies and government organisations. Lepsinger (2010, p. 2) notes that all the organisations in the operations of the Deepwater Horizon rig including the good owner who is BP, Transocean the rig owner, Halliburton the oil rig services provider and the Minerals Management Services that protect wildlife and the environment from damage by the drilling activities did not work harmoniously.

The organisations were not unanimous in their decision-making processes and each did not perform their responsibilities. In addition, there was no accountability, coordination and communication among these organisations. Secondly, Lepsinger (2010) observes that another contributing factor to this disaster was the money-minded nature of BP which he terms as ‘ focus on greed’ .

Investigations showed that BP evaded safety policies whereby engineers used equipment that were risky and had not undergone quality tests (Lepsinger 2010). The surprising thing is that senior management was in support of this treacherous behaviour. Thirdly, the lack of cooperation between organisations operating at the Deepwater Horizon as well as laxity of government agencies to enforce rules contributed to the happening of the oil spill (Lepsinger 2010). The lack of cooperation was also evident after the disaster when there were arguments on who was in charge. The fourth cause of the oil spill was the lack of integrating people with expertise in decision making and how to handle such a disaster.

Lepsinger (2010) notes that the lack of effective organisational structure hindered BP from recruiting people who had knowledge and experience to handle the spill. He also argues that BP did not empower its employees through training on safety and disaster preparedness and emergency procedures but instead top management did not respect the juniors and was used to yelling at them and treating them with no respect.

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