Drowning in Oil: BP & the Reckless Pursuit of Profit


Drowning in Oil: BP & the Reckless Pursuit of Profit The definitive account of how BP s win at all costs culture led to this era s greatest industrial catastrophe A carefully and powerfully written story Financial Times When an author uses a loaded word like reckless in a book s title, the burden of proof is high Steffy meets the burden by demonstrating that corporate behemoth BP formerly British Petroleum could have prevented thedeaths on April aboard the Deepwater Horizon The deaths and the gigantic oil spill following the sinking of Deepwater Horizon will surely become a landmark of corporate ineptness and greed for the remainder of human history, thanks in part to Steffy s remarkable account San Antonio Express News Steffy has produced a fascinating, gripping, revealing account The book details events aboard the Deepwater Horizon in April ofto start, but it digs deeper into what is revealed as a culture of cost cutting boiling over within BP Steffy documents years of incidents and poor management decisions, detailing the rise of key characters like John Browne and Tony Hayward alongside riveting outlines of horrifying events in Texas City and at other BP locations The book reads like fiction at times, with the author s heavily detailed accounts of explosions and conversations creating vivid, nearly fantastical images The tragic history of BP is all too real, though, as the lost lives and environmental damage certainly attest to Steffy is a thorough, straightforward author His concerns largely lie with the loss of life and the general culture of cost cutting of BP, painting an apt and terrifying picture of rampant, steady, costly neglect Seattle Post Intelligencer Steffy provides valuable insight and crucial corporate context in explaining how so much oil ended up in the Gulf of Mexico BusinessWeek Steffy s investigations reveal a corporate culture of cost cutting initiatives that put profits ahead of workers lives and the environment, with repeated safety violations and an abysmal accident history Steffy details how, in the context of BP s record, the disaster was just part of a pattern of poor decision making in the relentless pursuit by BP to become the largest and most profitable oil company in the world Booklist About the BookAs night settled on April a series of explosions rocked Deepwater Horizon, the immense semisubmersible drilling platform leased by British Petroleum, locatedmiles off the Louisiana coast The ensuing inferno claimedlives, and it would rage uncontained for two days, until its wreckage sank to a final resting place nearly a mile beneath the waves On the ocean floor, the unit s wellhead erupted Over the next ten weeks, as repeated attempts to cap the geyser failed, an estimatedmillion gallons of oil the equivalent ofExxon Valdez spills spewed into the Gulf of Mexico, eventually lapping up on beaches as far away as Florida Drowning in Oil, by award winning Houston Chronicle business reporter and columnist Loren Steffy considered by many to be the writer with the best access to the story is an unprecedented and gripping narrative of this catastrophe and how BP s winner take all business culture made it all but inevitableThrough never before published interviews with BP executives and employees, environmental experts, and oil industry insiders, Steffy takes us behind the scenes ofyears of BP corporate history Beginning with the conglomerate s early gambits in the Middle East to its recent ascent among energy titans, Steff unearths the roots of the Gulf oil spill in the unwritten bargain between oil producers and consumers, whose insatiable appetites drive the search for new supplies faster, farther, and deeperBeyond this, the Deepwater Horizon disaster took place after a history of cost cutting in pursuit of profits, particularly under the guidance of its two most recent ex CEOs, John Browne and Anthony HaywardExhaustively researched and documented, Drowning in Oil is the first in depth examination of how a lack of corporate responsibility and government oversight led to the biggest offshore oil spill in US history It is an objective, no punches pulled account of the energy industry its environmental impact and the intense competition among stakeholders in today s oil marketsThis book puts all the pieces together, offering a definitive account of BP s pursuit of outsized profits as the industrial world awakens to the grim realities of Peak Oil They fumbled around the darkened room and found an instruction manual By flashlight, they read the starting procedures They were doing everything right After five or six futile tries, they gave up and headed back toward the bridge Back on the bridge, alarms were shrieking and the captain knew they were running out of time The subsea engineer had hit the emergency disconnect for the well, and although the control panel showed the rig should be free, it wasn t The hydraulics were dead Fire continued to shoot from the top of the derrick The rig had no power, and without power, it had no pumps for the firefighting equipment, no way to shut off the flow of gas from the well, and no way to disconnect the rig from the flaming umbilical that had it tethered to the wellhead from Drowning in Oil



10 thoughts on “Drowning in Oil: BP & the Reckless Pursuit of Profit

  1. says:

    Americans blaming foreigners for all their misfortunes sad, but typical This book recounts the failures of BP in the years leading up to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe The author, an apparent Houston Energy Oil expert Loren Steffy, claims that their focus on cost cutting, hazy management structure and improper safety procedures were the ma


  2. says:

    While this book looked at BP S many failings I feel it left Transocean the drilling contractor off the hook As somebody who works on a drilling rig I have some very serious questions about the failure of numerous safety systems on transoceans rig The author has chose to focus almost soley on BP and gloss over the failings of other parties Transoc


  3. says:

    Drowning in Oil was incredibly interesting and well written I found it very informative without ever being dry Steffy s knowledge and background in the industry made him the perfect person to write this book His experience as a journalist paid off with absolutely stellar descriptions I ve never read a non fiction that made you feel as if you were in


  4. says:

    History of BP and the acquisition of Standard Oil Includes the accidents by the company and the names of the lives lost.


  5. says:

    Shocking description of how such big corporations are run.


  6. says:

    Good book, felt like each chapter ended with a little less detail than I wanted.


  7. says:

    The book I read was Drowning in Oil by Loren C Steffy This is a nonfiction book that not only details the Deepwater Horizon accident known as the Gulf Oil Spill , but also the events leading up to it It goes over the very beginning of the company, and details previous accidents that were BP s fault, such as the Texas City Refinery explosion in 2005 However its main


  8. says:

    Don t let the corny name fool you, this book provides an excellent analysis of BP s corporate culture under former CEO John Browne and how that culture culminated in the explosion at BP s Texas City refinery, BP s pipeline spill in Alaska, and the blowout of the Macando well Browne emphasized cost cutting above all else, which resulted in a neglect of proper safety proc


  9. says:

    Loren Steffy s Drowning in Oil, published by McGraw Hill is a historical look at the rise of BP and the other major oil companies and their endless pursuit of profits It takes an objective look at the BP culture first created by John Browne and then perpetuated by Anthony Hayward, and how this culture of profit driven decision making led to such an unsafe work environment t


  10. says:

    I thought this was a very good read and a good overview of the culture of BP Having spent 34 years on the global oil services industry I found a few technical errors in the reading that lowered my confidence in the rest of the book For example, the author completely mutilated page 159, all beginning with the statement that oil was heavier than water Unfortunately that is a crit


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About the Author: Loren C. Steffy

Loren Steffy is the author of George P Mitchell Fracking, Sustainability and an Unorthodox Quest to Save the Planet to be published in October 2019 , The Man Who Thought Like a Ship, and Drowning in Oil BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit He is a writer at large for Texas Monthly, an executive producer for Rational Middle Media and a former business columnist for the Houston Chronicle Before joining the Chronicle, Steffy was Dallas bureau chief and a senior writer for Bloomberg News in Dallas for 12 years He covered a variety of business topics in Texas and across the country, including the collapse of Enron Before joining Bloomberg, Steffy worked at the Dallas Times Herald, the Dallas Business Journal and the Arlington Daily News Steffy s writing has received numerous awards and he was a four time finalist the Gerald R Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, business journalism s highest honor His reporting on the collapse of Arthur Andersen was selected for the 2003 edition of the Best Business Stories of the Year He holds a bachelor s degree in journalism from Texas AM University and lives in Wimberley, Texas, with his wife, three dogs and an ungrateful cat.


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