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BP isn’t so bad

July 1, 2010

… according to, who else, BP.

BP has endured lots of criticism for their massive screw-up but not nearly as much as they deserve.  This is largely because they have done just about everything they can to prevent media from getting to where the oil is affecting the shorelines (which makes blogs like Drew Wheelan’s ABA blog so crucial), but the ultimate effect is that the awful immediate impact of the spill are hidden from the public and, if BP has it’s way, forgotten.

This is a policy that was rightly pilloried for awhile, but ultimately accepted (besides, there are lots of shiny objects for the media to chase instead and reporters might get sand on their reporter notepads in Louisiana).  But rest assured, BP is filling the void, because they’ve hired “journalists” to “report” on the “oil spill” via a blog  taking a position no doubt friendly to the oil giant!  Finally a fair perspective. Hooray!

I offer to you, dear reader, the beauty of the oil spill….

From the relative comfort of a large square deck with a cold bottle of water always in hand, and an air-conditioned TV room with comfy sofas a level below, I witnessed beauty preparing to face the beast. Miss Jasmine, the most experienced local shrimping vessel, beautifully painted with a colourful dragon streaming along her sides, pulled the folded boom in place. Then gently pulling along her side, another vessel took on a rope from Miss Jasmine. With barely a pause, the two boats moved apart at the same speed, spreading the boom into a v-shape just like birds form in the sky.

As this unfolded, a Navy skimmer craft attached itself to the point. Gently caressing the sea surface, the three vessels circled and swirled, guiding the boom without changing the design.

A ballet at sea as mesmerising as any performance in a concert hall, and worthy of an audience in its own right.

Isn’t that nice?  And all we had to do to experience this “ballet” is dump several hundred million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf!  A small price to pay for fine art, I think!  Thanks to BP for providing this valuable service.  And here I though oil spills were something to be avoided.

And in case you worry about the birds, let Paula Kolmar put your mind at ease:

One bird rescued, is one victory. Over the coming months, there will be many victories and some painful losses. Michelle, and center managers like her all along the Gulf Coast, are using every ounce of their experience, skill, and compassion to assure far more victories. They will do so for as long as it takes, because of the shit storm we caused due to our outrageous negligence.

Sorry, I added that last part myself.  Seems I have to much journalistic integrity.

  1. July 1, 2010 9:22 am

    Thank you for your continuing BP commentary. I am so sick over the whole thing that I can’t get myself to write about it.

  2. July 1, 2010 10:05 am

    Oh, gag! Those passages are almost as bad as the descriptions of the slick as rainbow chocolate sauce.

  3. Nate permalink*
    July 1, 2010 10:26 am

    @Katie- Yeah… just, yeah.

    @John- No joke, but I guess it’s that kind of purple prose that gets you access the rest of the media doesn’t get. That or subservience to the company line.

  4. July 2, 2010 7:46 am

    Can I have an oil spill, too? Pretty please???

    I have forwarded the link to colleagues in my company to demonstrate how NOT to run a company blog and how NOT to communicate with the public. BP is a very fine example for all of us – a fine example of how things are done in the worst possible way.

    Serioulsy, this is quite a shame.

  5. July 2, 2010 8:22 am

    I remember in 2000-2001 when I was working as a contractor for the french company Total, following the oil spill caused by the sinking of the Tanker “Erika”. I (and many others) build the plant that was used to clean the wastes collected on the beaches, and thus was a direct witness of what it is to work for an oil company in this kind of situation. I learned quite a few things at that time (Total used tankers that were build before the double hulled tanker law, those tankers were super old, and checked by corrupted agencies). For image purposes, they would spend $$ (actually Euros) like crazy. They would ask us to have more workers on the construction site, so they could advertise that “100 construction workers are working to build the remediation plant”. Never mind that most of these workers were not qualified, or simply waiting for parts that were assembled in a plant. Most important thing is to show the media that they are doing something.

    In the gulf right now, they are spending lots of $$ to skim the oil. That’s a lot of boats for the journalist to shoot, but the truth it, if they are very succesfull, they might skim 10% of the total amount of oil. They are using tons of dispersants, so most of oil is now under water (out of sight), not on top of the water. Who cares if on long term it is a worst solution. The most important thing is the image. Not the results.

    Right now, other oil companies are trying to distance themselves from BP. But it would be a lure to think that BP is the only one to have bad and risky practices. They are all the same.

  6. Nate permalink*
    July 2, 2010 9:11 am

    @Jochen- You’re…you’re back. And so sudden. I didn’t even have time to spruce up the place. I find it both hilarious and deeply unnerving that these “reporters” are talking about the awful effects of the oil gusher without any sort of culpability. It’s that disconnect that’s completely jarring when reading this stuff. And yeah, that’s not the way to communicate with the public.

    @Laurent- That doesn’t surprise me in the least. It’s all for show which is why it’s so frustrating to see the gov’t leaving the entire clean-up operation to people who care more about looking like they’re doing something than actually doing anything.

    It’s also why I have a problem with boycotts, since it vilifies BP (who I’m not saying don’t absolutely deserve it) at the expense of other companies who are just as awful. The system is broken.

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