Synopses & Reviews
"In Too Deep is the story of a corporate culture gone wrong. Reed and Fitzgerald have dug deep and come up with a cautionary tale that is also a cracking good yarn."
—Evan Thomas, Contributing Editor, Newsweek
"The touchstone account of the greatest environmental disaster of modern times. These seasoned reporters have produced a gripping, highly readable account of BP's corporate culture and how it led to the Gulf of Mexico disaster. In Too Deep is a brilliant piece of reporting and a serious work of political economy."
—Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, coauthor, American Prometheus, and author, Crossing Mandelbaum Gate
"Stanley Reed is one of the most thoughtful and informed business journalists in the international community, and what's more, always a pleasure to read."
—Victor Navasky, publisher emeritus, The Nation, George T. Delacorte Professor, Columbia University
"A masterly job of taking the reader behind the scenes to understand how and why the Deepwater Horizon blew up and the role of BP in the disaster. Paced almost as swiftly as events unfolded, the book takes us from the floor of the Gulf to the boardrooms in London and Washington to the sands of the Middle East. Every person who has grieved for the workers lost in the explosion or felt a pang of horror at the volumes of crude spilled into the ocean will appreciate how skillfully the authors have explained the event. Truth turns out to be more exciting, and better reading, than fiction."
—Doron Levin, contributor, Fortune, and author, Behind the Wheel at Chrysler and Irreconcilable Differences
"From the macho world of offshore oil drilling to the rarified world of Wimbledon tennis matches and Mayfair drinks parties, In Too Deep brings a uniquely deep, trans-Atlantic perspective to the Gulf of Mexico tragedy. Reed and Fitzgerald have teamed up to produce what may become a classic case study of a corporate culture gone wrong."
—Julia Flynn Siler, author of the New York Times bestseller, The House of Mondavi, and the forthcoming Lost Kingdom
"Were this a work of fiction, readers would be spellbound. Since it's reality, In Too Deep is essential to demanding the truth from leaders at all levels in business, government, and everywhere else."
—John Hofmeister, former President, Shell Oil Company, and author, Why We Hate the Oil Companies
"Reed and Fitzgerald begin their first book with a riveting description of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion. Those employees who weren't killed by the explosion had to 'jump the ten stories from the blazing rig to dark waters below.' With our attention duly captured, the authors do little to hold it for the rest of the book. Facts are recounted ('Oil flowed for 87 days') and historical perspectives are provided (although it was BP CEO Tony Hayward who received the brunt of the public outcry, former CEO John Browne helped move the company from mid-sized to a kind of 'Goldman Sachs' of the oil industry). The authors, both veteran reporters, certainly did their research, noting that BP's plans for managing a disaster on the Gulf Coast were incomplete and apparently copied from Arctic scenarios; documents include recovery plans for 'walruses, seals and sea lions.' They also unearth past disasters, such as BP's 2005 Texas City refinery explosion in which 15 died, and an oil leak in Alaska in March of 2006 that led the House Energy and Commerce Committee to determine that BP had inadequately maintained its pipeline network, a discovery that led the authors to determine that company incentives as far back as the 1990s helped create the Deepwater disaster. Unfortunately the narrative lacks the emotional color that made this story so compelling. What could have been fascinating is instead just gritty and bleak. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
The truth behind the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history
In 2005, fifteen workers were killed when BP's Texas City Refinery exploded. In 2006, corroded pipes owned by BP led to an oil spill in Alaska. Now, in 2010, eleven men drilling for BP were killed in the blowout of the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.
What's next? In In Too Deep: BP and the Drilling Race That Took it Down, Stanley Reed?a journalist who has covered BP for over a decade?and investigative reporter Alison Fitzgerald answer not only that question, but also examine why these disasters happen to BP so much more than other large oil companies.
- Places the blame on a corporate culture created by former BP CEO John Browne who was forced to resign in 2007 after he lied in court documents in a case involving his gay lover
- Details a BP built on risk-taking and cost-cutting
- Examines the past, present, and future of BP
In August 2010, BP successfully "killed" the company's damaged deepwater well. But, the environmental fallout and public relations campaign to rebuild the brand are just beginning. In Too Deep details why BP, why now, and what's next for this oil giant.
In 2005, fifteen workers were killed when BP's Texas City refinery exploded. In 2006, corroded pipes owned by BP led to an oil spill in Alaska. And then in 2010, eleven BP contract workers were killed in the Gulf of Mexico's Macondo well blowout. By the time it plugged the hole at the bottom of the Gulf, BP had become the biggest oil polluter in U.S. history, dwarfing the notorious Exxon Valdez, the oil tanker whose drunken captain ran his ship aground in Prince William Sound off Alaska. Some commentatorsperhaps BP apologistssuggest this was bound to happen and BP was simply the unlucky company to which this disaster befell. But Stanley Reed, who has been covering the company for over ten years, and Alison Fitzgerald saw otherwise.
In In Too Deep, Reed and investigative reporter Fitzgerald show that there is likely a reason that it was a BP well that blew out, and not one that belonged to Exxon or Shelland that the blame may lie in BP's culture of risk-taking and hard focus on financial results. That culture, they show, was created under former CEO John Browne, who reshaped the company during his twelve-year tenure and then was forced to resign in 2007. They reveal how Browne, while beloved by investors for his growth strategy that saw BP's stock rise, had built a company focused on acquisitions and cost cuttingcultural assets in some areas that ended up being cultural poison in the area of deepwater drilling. The story of how the Gulf disaster happened, and of the behind-the-scenes management of the company, is a fascinating object lesson that we will be learning from for decades.
In July 2010, BP successfully "killed" the company's damaged deepwater well. But the environmental fallout and public relations campaign to rebuild the brand are just beginning. In Too Deep details why BP suffered this disaster, why now, and what's next for the oil giant.
About the Author
STANLEY REED was London Bureau Chief of BusinessWeek from 19962010. He is a specialist on the Middle East and energy. He has covered BP for more than a decade and accompanied then-CEO John Browne on a trip to Russia in 2003. He also visited BP's Thunderhorse, the largest oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, in 2009. He won the 2003 Best of Knight-Bagehot Award from the Columbia Journalism School for his coverage of the Iraq war. He is now a reporter-at-large for Bloomberg News.
ALISON FITZGERALD, an investigative reporter at Bloomberg News, writes about the convergence of government and economics in Washington, D.C. Her coverage of the financial crisis and government rescue of the banking industry won her the 2009 George W. Polk Award for national reporting and the "Best of the Best" award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Her 2008 work on the global food crisis was honored by the Overseas Press Club.
Table of Contents
Cast of Characters.
Chapter 1 Night of Horror, Day of Triumph.
Chapter 2 The Oil Lord.
Chapter 3 Agents of Empire.
Chapter 4 The Big Kahuna of the Gulf.
Chapter 5 Money, Politics and Bad Timing.
Chapter 6 Lord Browne's Long Goodbye.
Chapter 7 Riding the Throughput Curve.
Chapter 8 Tony Hayward Comes up Short.
Chapter 9 Disaster on the Horizon.
Chapter 10 BP Struggles to Survive.
About the Authors.