Synopses & Reviews
A gripping and eye-opening account of a corporation in crisis, setting the spill in its broader context within the history of BP and big oil In April 2010, the world watched in alarm as BP's Macondo well suffered a fatal explosion and a catastrophic leak. Over the next three months, amid tense scenes of corporate and political finger-pointing, millions of barrels of crude oil dispersed across the Gulf of Mexico in what became one of the worst oil spills in history. But there is more to BP's story than this. Tom Bergin, an oil broker turned Reuters reporter, watched the "two-pipeline company" of the early 1980s grow into a dynamic oil giant and PR machine by the turn of the 21st century. His unique access to key figures within BP, including former CEO Tony Hayward, has enabled him to piece together the story of a corporation in crisis. He takes readers back nearly 30 years to explain how a company that was almost destroyed by privatization and the oil-price crash of the late 1980s was able to transform itself into the industry's most dynamic player, and most sophisticated PR machine, by the turn of the 21st century. At the same time, he examines how crucial decisions made during this remarkable turnaround period paved the way for BP's darkest hour.
"Bergin, a highly regarded oil industry reporter, has provided the best assessment yet of how the accident was rooted in the nature of BP, the most swashbuckling of the oil giants. . . . There are lessons here about how to prevent a crisis—and handle one—that anyone in business would do well to take in." —Financial Times
"Of all the accounts so far, Reuters oil writer Tom Bergin provides the most compelling look at how BP found itself with President Barack Obama's boot on its throat and two-thirds of its market value evaporating." —Daily Telegraph
"If you want to know why BP got itself into such a mess before and after Deepwater Horizon, Spills and Spin is an excellent and reliable account." —Sunday Times
"Daniel Yergin's vast study of the politics of energy, The Quest, may be essential reading, but Bergin's lively account of BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year is a much lighter read. Bergin charts how Lord (John) Browne cunningly rebranded BP as the first "green" oil company, even as key safety issues were ignored. A gripping story of corporate hubris and incompetence" —The Sunday Times Books of the Year
"Exhaustively researched. . . . An excellent and reliable account." —Sunday Times
A gripping and eye-opening account of a corporation in crisis.
In April 2010, the world watched in alarm as millions of barrels of crude oil began gushing into the Gulf of Mexico following a catastrophic explosion at BP's Macondo well. As spring turned to summer and the accident developed into one of the worst oil spills in history, alarm gave way to disbelief and anger. Why had this happened? Why was it taking so long to fix? And who was ultimately to blame? Tom Bergin, a former oil broker turned oil-industry reporter for Reuters, has been following BP's fortunes for almost two decades and he reported daily on the unfolding events of the 2010 spill. His unique access to key players within BP -- including former CEO Tony Hayward -- has enabled him to piece together the story of a corporation in crisis.
Bergin sets the scene by taking us back nearly thirty years to explain how a company that was almost destroyed by privatisation and the oil-price crash of the late 1980s was able to re-emerge as a market leader by the turn of the twenty-first century. At the same time, he examines how crucial decisions made during this remarkable turnaround period paved the way for BP's darkest hour.
About the Author
TOM BERGIN has reported on the energy industry for over twelve years, having previously worked as an oil broker. For the past seven years he has headed Reuters's coverage of the oil industry in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and his work has been published in The New York Times, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, The Globe and Mail and the Shanghai Daily, as well as in dozens of newspapers and magazines around the world. He is a regular television and radio commentator, appearing on CNBC, ITV, the BBC and other outlets as far away as New Zealand. Apart from the oil industry, Tom has reported on financial scandals, including the rise and fall of Enron, environmental issues, EU politics and terrorist attacks. He lives in London with his wife, a former Reuters reporter turned investment banker, and two young sons.