The Explosion – BP’s Culture of Privileging Profit Over Prudence.

“The explosion of the rig was a disaster that resulted from BP’s culture of privileging profit over prudence,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “The information details that, on the evening of April 20, the two supervisors, Kaluza and Vidrine, observed clear indications that the Macondo well was not secure and that oil and gas were flowing into the well.   Despite this, BP’s well site leaders chose not to take obvious and appropriate steps to prevent the blowout.   As a result of their conduct, control of the Macondo well was lost, resulting in catastrophe.”  As part of its plea agreement, BP has admitted that, through Rainey, it withheld documents and provided false and misleading information in response to the U.S. House of Representatives’ request for flow-rate information.   Among other things, BP admitted that Rainey manipulated internal estimates to understate the amount of oil flowing from the well and withheld data that contradicted BP’s public estimate of 5,000 barrels of oil per day.   BP has also admitted that, at the same time Rainey was preparing his manipulated estimates, BP’s internal engineering response teams were using sophisticated methods that generated significantly higher estimates.    The Flow Rate Technical Group, consisting of government and independent scientists, later concluded that more than 60,000 barrels per day were leaking into the Gulf during the relevant time, contrary to BP’s representations to Congress.”

The information highlights noted above taken from the Department of Justice website shows why organizations need to invest in strategies that allow them to manage emergencies everyday. Everyone wants profits but in order to secure those profits we need to make investments in safety and prevention.  When things go wrong we need investments for response and recovery efforts as well. As you examine the issues confronting BP over a period of time you can see parallels in how many organizations take similar chances and risks to be profitable that will one day catch up to them.  The risks in the operating any business are threatening enough without the added issues of cutting corners and neglect which almost always lead to disasters.  Focusing on mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery activities are the only methods proven to avoid or reduce the effects of disasters and emergencies.

BP had the money to make the investments needed to improve their operations in the Gulf and other operations around the world. They had the expertise to know that the risks they were taking could prove costly.  The investment needed to eliminate or manage the risks were minimal compared to the record fines, criminal and civil liabilities they face today.  It should be a lesson to all organizations to do the right thing and make the investments to keep the organization on a path to profitability and prosperity without risking the lives and livelihoods of the workers and the community they are seeking to serve. Watch a riviting documentary on how BP ignored risks and threats to their corporation daily before the big spill

This blog and Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants are dedicated to educating business owners and employees on the need to manage emergencies everyday through effective mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery actions. Accidents can be reduced, eliminated and their effects can be lessened if a good strategy is adopted.

If you need preparedness training or would like to have a preparedness discussion for your employees checkout my website (Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants) and contact me via email at for a free consultation.


About managingemergencies

I am a professional consultant with 30 years of experience in managing emergencies. My background and skills gave me the foundation to start Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants. If you need preparedness training or would like to have a preparedness discussion for your employees contact me via email at I held various positions in the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department until I retired in 2007. As a emergency planner and trainer in the Prince George's County Office of Homeland Security I planned exercises and training for government agencies and citizens groups. I was appointed Fire Chief of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department in 2009. I started Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants in June of that year. I had the opportunity to become the Assistant Fire Chief - Operations of the District of Columbia Fire/EMS Department and served for a year as the Interim Fire Chief. I am a trained mediator, mediator team leader and trainer. I also served as the Fire/EMS Department Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.
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