ONE might have expected a humble presentation from Bob Dudley, head of BP, who spoke at the Economic Club of Chicago yesterday. In 2010, his company was responsible for a disaster in the Gulf of Mexico when an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 men, injured 17 others, and released more oil into the ocean than any other accident in the history of the industry. But it was not to be that way. Instead, and reading between the lines, Mr Dudley had an interesting new year’s message for a country in the middle of hard economic times: you need us as much as we need you.
In the middle of 2010, BP’s reputation was in tatters. And let’s face it, 5m barrels of crude oil spilling into the Gulf were bound to upset the natives. But as the crisis unfolded, politicians made things much more difficult for BP by publicly tearing strips off the company. Eager to stay in tune with the nation, and cast off an image of impotence, the administration said it would keep its boot on the throat of BP, and the president even declared he was ready to “kick ass”. [More...]