Drilling Safety at BP: The Deepwater Horizon Accident

Case Solution

Stephen P. Kaufman, Laura Winig
Harvard Business School ()

Following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico explosion and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, public attention has focused on BP’s safety record, management practices and culture as the primary culprits in the disaster. Using public sources, this case traces the circumstances of the accident, including not only the role of BP, but also that of the two main subcontractors contracted to drill and plug the oil well (Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Energy Services). . The case examines BP’s safety record and previous accidents at a Houston refinery in 2005 and along a pipeline in Alaska in 2006, and details management changes imposed by the board and safety programs introduced by Tony Hayward, the new CEO in 2007..

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