Monday the 14th of March at 8.30 pm
This week on Four Corners BP: $30 Billion Blowout: the story of the worst offshore oil disaster in US history, the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, through the eyes of the man dubbed the most hated man in America, former BP boss Tony Hayward.
And a warning for Australia as the Federal Government issues licences to explore for oil deep in our most pristine oceans. Presenter Kerry O’Brien will explore the lessons from the spill with the Co-Chair of the BP Oil Spill Commission.
The US President called it “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.” And there was one man who became the focus of America’s angry response: Tony Hayward.
In BP: $30 Billion Blowout, Tony Hayward, BP’s former Chief Executive speaks out in a wide-ranging interview, reliving every aspect of the crisis: from being under the US media spotlight and running a multinational in financial meltdown, to dealing with a US President who was making the crisis personal.
It may have been an environmental disaster of epic proportions, but the political and financial fallout from the Deepwater Horizon Spill ultimately proved just as toxic as the oil that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.
In an extended interview the former BP boss recalls his time as America’s Public Enemy Number One:
“You know it’s very difficult to hate a company, it’s much easier to hate an individual…
He regrets some of his comments to the US media – or at least his candour:
“If I had a degree at RADA rather than a degree in geology I may have done better. I’m not certain it would have changed the outcome, but certainly the perception of myself may have been different…”
And he lashes out at aspects of the coverage, such as the criticism he received in June when he took time out to go sailing with his son:
“I have to confess, at the time I was pretty angry actually. I hadn’t seen my son for three months. I was on the boat for six hours, between the hours of midnight and six o’clock in the morning US time and I’m not certain I’d do anything different. I wanted to see my son. The only way I could see my son was to be with him on a boat race he was on…”
First broadcast on the BBC Money Programme, BP: $30 Billion Blowout features a host of interviews with key industry insiders, including Bob Dudley, the new Head of BP. Dudley talks in detail about just how close to the edge the world’s fourth largest company came at the height of the crisis:
“When a company reaches this point where its debt becomes almost illiquid, it is very difficult to come back from that. These were frightening days…”
Following the report, Four Corners presenter Kerry O’Brien will interview one of the men entrusted by President Obama to investigate the circumstances surrounding the disaster. Senator Bob Graham was the Co-Chair of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Its final report is a damning indictment of the safety culture of the entire industry.
Four Corners, presented by Kerry O’Brien, goes to air on Monday 14th March at 8.30pm on ABC1.