On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation on BP’s public image and corporate culture with Ed Mayberry, business reporter for KUHF 88.7FM.
Media coverage of BP has been steady since the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April, chronicling the aftermath of the explosion, including the 11 lives lost, as well as the company’s attempts to plug the well and to repair its public image.
Houston Chronicle columnist Loren Steffy has covered the story every step of the way and recently released Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit, a book that examines the company and takes a closer look at how the Houston/Galveston area has been impacted. From the recent Continental United airlines merger, Enron trials, Energy industry to investing and the markets, Steffy has reported on major business news stories for the Chronicle.
Steffy stopped by Bauer Business Focus to discuss the book and his coverage of BP, from the explosion at the company’s Texas City refinery in 2005 to the recent Deepwater disaster.
The BP story is still unfolding, he said, making it a challenge to write a book about the company.
“Not only did I know it wouldn’t have an ending, I knew the book would be finished before any investigation wrapped up,” Steffy said. “Setting the discussion in the Gulf in the context of BP’s history made it more a story about the company then the spill.”
He turned his focus to the people involved in the Texas City and Deepwater tragedies, giving the victims’ families and the survivors the opportunity to talk about what happened to them.
“I wanted to tell the stories of the guys on the rig and the workers in Texas City, and what they were thinking, feeling, doing…,” Steffy said.
The book also looks at BP’s corporate culture and safety regulations in offshore drilling. “There definitely will be some changes; the industry has already accepted some changes,” he said. “But they don’t want hard and fast rules — each well is different. The bigger problem with BP will be infusing accountability into the organization.”
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