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Two decades ago, British Petroleum, a venerable and storied corporation, was running out of oil reserves. Along came a new CEO of vision and vast ambition, John Browne, who pulled off one of the greatest corporate turnarounds in history.
BP bought one company after another and then relentlessly fired employees and cut costs. It skipped safety procedures, pumped toxic chemicals back into the ground, and let equipment languish, even while Browne claimed a new era of environmentally sustainable business as his own. For a while the strategy worked, making BP one of the most profitable corporations in the world. Then it all began to unravel, in felony convictions for environmental crimes and in one deadly accident after another. Employees and regulators warned that BP’s problems, unfixed, were spinning out of control, that another disaster - bigger and deadlier - was inevitable. Nobody was listening.
Having reported on business and the energy industry for nearly a decade, Abrahm Lustgarten uses interviews with key executives, former government investigators, and whistle-blowers along with his exclusive access to BP’s internal documents and emails to weave a spellbinding investigative narrative of hubris and greed well before the gulf oil spill.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Me & My Girls on 03-13-15
Enough To Make You Sick
A comprehensive examination of the corporate culture that led to the deaths at the Texas City Plant as well as the explosion on the the Deepwater Horizon. The title reflects the BP policy to use every piece of equipment both mechanical or human until it broke down. Some of the men on both the Texas City platform and on the Deepwater Horizon had been putting in hours of overtime for weeks without any days off prior to both accidents. That safety inspection reports that were forged by the company led to breakdowns in the equipment that led to both disasters. This is an in depth look at a corporate culture that cut corners on a regular basis until small problems became large problems that led to breakdowns that eventually became disasters that caused a number of avoidable deaths. Recommended.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Karen on 09-06-13
What you DON'T know about BP
I went into this book thinking that I had a good, basic knowledge of the BP oil company after following all the news reports and profiles during the time of the blow-out of the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico a couple years ago. Turns out I didn't have a clue!
To be honest, I got this book because there wasn't anything available that really captured my interest and I had a couple book credits left that I didn't want to expire and I like the narrator. No other reason! I'm glad I got it because this history of BP oil reads like a novel, is extremely well narrated (only 2 mispronunciations!!) and provides a clear look at a truly dangerous corporation that has no business being in the oil industry. This book alarmed me so much that I will never purchase a BP product again - and, I would suspect, if you purchase this title you will feel the same way...and be alarmed about the ecological future of the North Slope fields of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
This is truly worth a listen! Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful