An Ethical Dilemma Essay
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BP is said to be a giant multinational corporation which is duly responsible for the seemingly controversial disastrous blowout and gas explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, which has taken has taken pains in recent years to make up its image. The company’s logo which has a flowery pastel helix indicates its earthy friendliness while at the same time its tagline “Beyond Petroleum” expresses its desire to diversify into sustainable, greener energy. But the scale of the spill — and the seeming inability of the government to seriously staunch the rapid flow without the company’s help has provided a very sharp reminder of the power that big oil still holds and stands over national politics and the very same entire communities that live in its shadow.
Moreover the company’s actions are facing duly unprecedented scrutiny because of a year’s long history of legal and ethical violations from critics, judges and members of the congress because of their main mandate believed to be making profits alone and not caring about anything else whatsoever. Hence during the last two decades, the company has undergone a number of issues with its credibility being lowered due to the three times it has been convicted of environmental crimes in both Texas and Alaska.
Due to the company’s intentionally based work safety violations in the United States history, it thus had to bear the biggest ever fine and is a main subject of a wide range of safety investigations, with one in one in Washington State which resulted with a much lesser $69,000 fine due to its thirteen safety violations that it committed. However much the company accepts that it is honestly responsible for the oil spill; it refuses to admit that it is thus guilty of a certain specific trends in environmental and safety downfalls. This is clearly shown by a review of the company’s history which shows that it has an ethically questionable past.
During the evening of April 20, 2010, a heavy explosion and gas release occurred on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig working on the Macondo exploration well for BP in the Gulf of Mexico. The fire burned continuously for more than 24 hrs where after the rig sank causing hydro carbons to leak into the Gulf of Mexico for about 87 days before the closure and sealing was activated.
The fundamental issue about the accident is that it really involved a loss and lack of control over the pressure in the well; this was followed absolute lack of performance by the well’s system which could have prevented the blowout. The well’s blowout preventer is a specially designed valve that maintains stable and consistent conditions, thus after the explosions occurred the preventer failed to function hence sealing the seal which could have prevented the leak to occur. As a result of the accident eleven people died and many others were injured.
The company deeply regrets this loss of life and recognizes the tremendous loss suffered by the families, friends and co-workers of those who died. However the company is remorseful on the environmental effects caused together with the damage caused on the livelihoods of the surrounding community. The management even put in measures to ensure that that disaster does not occur again.
They took up the responsibility for the overall swift clean-up and compensate the persons affected. They also compensated and paid for the health, safety and welfare of the people who came to assist with the immediate dealing of the oil spill. Hence the company has sought to mutually work hand in hand with the government, immediate shareholders, the local residents, employees, the whole oil industry and the media in general. Thus due to the devastating event that occurred, the company offered to provide immediate resolutions to the dilemma which included:
Handling the leak:
After the occurrence of the incident the United States federal government came up with a unifying area command and restriction which was to manage the effort response and communications. Hence the unifying and commanding members included the company itself, the United States coast guard, the United States atmospheric administration, the United States occupational safety and health administration and the United States federal departments and agencies.
The company thus engaged itself to working closely with other professions from other oil companies, the academia elite and government agencies worked to stop the leak in every way possible. BP, immediately after the accident occurred the teams were dispatched to work to help and stop the leak at the source. They were supposed to plan relief wells and come up with suitable measures to disenable, stop, contain and recover the flow. Hence within a few weeks, work had begun on the drilling of some two relief well that would offer a permanent solution and stop the leak. Multiple techniques and skills were applied to facilitate the process of containing the leak, which included the fitting caps on the well and the use of special systems that would pipe out to other vessels on the surface, and hence sealing the well through the static killing procedure.
The company sought to come up with a fair and genuine way to cover fairly the claims. This very process targeted funds provision as immediately as possible. Most of these claims were from the specific customers and relevant businesses that were demanding compensation from loss of income or proceeds as a result of the oil spill. The company in collaboration with the government set aside BP a $20-billion trust which was to provide the relevant entities with confidence that the specific funds would be available. Hence after all this arrangements the company made payments to the trust in honoring it priorities of up to $5 billion and it is still committed to making further more payments of $1.25 billion each quarter until the end of 2013.
By early may the company had come up with few and manageable numbers. Thus with the very aim of improving and developing honesty, transparency and objectivity, the United States government and the company agreed to appoint Kenneth Feinberg who was to evaluate and manage and also control the individual and business claims. The company also funded a $100-million charitable trust to help the financial problems that the rig workers were facing and this was to be administered through the Gulf Coast Restoration and Protection Foundation.
Adverse cleaning and restoration:
The company from the very beginning worked tirelessly to try and control, and stop the oil spill and minimize or reduce its impact on the environment by containing, dispersing and getting the oil offshore. Hence all the efforts were duly effective in trying to achieve the objective of reducing amount of oil that reached the shore and environmentally sensitive marsh areas.
However how much this was to happen response involved the effective mobilization and willingness of up to 48,000 people, the bringing together of more than 6,500 vessels and the delegation of up to 2,500 miles of boom to sustain and absorb the oil. For the better part of the response the company’s employees and retirees brought all their expertise and skills and effectively facilitated the process. Moreover for the company to gain more and effective cleaning where the oil reached shorelines, the company used some of the old equipments and mostly of all new equipments o specifically respond to the oil spill event.
Hence the company is also much obliged to continue with its analysis and form alternate decisions that yield a different outcome; this can be done through the company’s effort to restore the environment by monitoring the health and environmental impacts, through natural resource damage assessment and technical reports and documentation. The company should also spend most of its time restoring the economy hence supporting oil spoil response efforts.
The company’s effort has won praises and recognition from all various corners. Lynne Baker, who is a lady spokeswoman for United Steelworkers Union, and which represents the many of the company’s refinery workers, has told reporters that BP as company has ” worked hard to get themselves in a better position in all the refineries” and Kevin Banks, who is the director of the oil and gas division of Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources, cautiously says that the company has made improvements hence through the alternative decisions the company has and will manage to consolidate the dilemma.