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Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Abrahm Lustgarten

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26. März 2012
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."

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Amazon.com: 4.4 von 5 Sternen  12 Rezensionen
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A titanic failure of management and policy 8. Juni 2012
Von Roberto Perez-Franco - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
How a culture of corner-cutting and wishful-thinking spawned a disaster in offshore drilling
[Review published in MIT's The Tech]

The horrifying image of a muddy column of oil rushing incessantly from the earth's guts into the deep blue waters of the Gulf is forever branded in my memory. As I watched in disbelief the live video feed from the bottom of the sea, showing the Macondo well vomiting poison into the ocean, week after week, impervious to the incompetent attempts of BP to kill it, there was one question that kept bouncing in my head: how on earth did this happen?

Abrahm Lustgarten, an award-winning environmental journalist and recipient of the MacArthur Foundation's "genius grant," has the answer. His devastating exposé of BP's abysmal safety record details the role the company played in what is arguably the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Run to Failure, Lustgarten's recent book, deconstructs how the Deepwater Horizon "accident" was decades in the making, how short-sighted managerial decisions led to a culture where rhetoric ("safety remains our number one priority") cloaked sloppy operations for the sake of profit. The story unfolds like a train wreck in slow-motion, from the rise of John Browne as The One inside British Petroleum in the late 1980s to the moment Andrea Fleytas radioed "Mayday!" from a burning platform in the Gulf on the night of April 20, 2010. The conclusion is as damning as it is terrifying: The great 2010 oil spill was the direct result of BP's quick and dirty approach to business. And although it was utterly avoidable, a similar or worse disaster may happen again.

Although Lustgarten divides his book formally into three parts, it makes more sense to think of it in two blocks. The first deals with the long-term "making" of the disaster, namely the broader management and regulatory aspects of the problem. Lustgarten discusses the background information on BP's managerial and cultural transformations towards increased efficiency (read: cost-cutting), its tense and dilatory interactions with ineffective regulators, and its vindictiveness against whistleblowers. It is also provides answers to questions such as why Barack Obama supported an expansion in offshore drilling, why BP was a key player in offshore drilling in the Gulf, and the origin of the company's atrocious safety culture.

The second block of the book dissects in painful detail the immediate causes of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. These last two chapters, in my opinion, pay for the whole book. The discussion of the perils of deep-water drilling in the Macondo well and the litany of tragic mistakes that invited an unnecessary disaster read like the engineering equivalent of a thriller. Lustgarten details the countless critical mistakes made by BP in the eve of the disaster, including a series of explanations of how things should have been done according to the industry's best practices, juxtaposed with what BP did instead in order to save time or money.

A careful reading of Run to Failure will leave the reader with a clear understanding of the immediate causes of the blowout -- the multiple "aberrational decisions" made by rogue managers, which could and should have been anticipated. But it will also help the reader understand why, as the official inquiry on the disaster puts it, the root causes of the spill were "systemic" and "might well recur" without significant reform in both industry practice and government policies. "Most of the mistakes and oversights at Macondo can be traced back to a single overarching failure - a failure of management," states the report. Sadly, as Lustgarten makes it clear in the closing pages, the regulation of the industry has not been improved enough -- not even close.

If you are short on time, Frontline's documentary The Spill will give you a taste of BP's lame safety culture leading up to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. But the deeper analysis that Run to Failure presents has no substitute: Lustgarten's narrative is so well-written, his argument so clear and detailed, and his message so urgent that I strongly encourage any person interested in American energy policy in the 21st century to read this book and take in its painful lessons. Learn them, I say, and stand up, because industry regulators haven't.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great book really truthful I know I work for Bp 18. November 2012
Von Everette Webb - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
Really insightfully written I was surprised that Bp even agreed to let it be published..I found it had a lot
of information about what happened on the deep water horizon rig..
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great book 23. Februar 2013
Von jpd - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Everyone in the Oil and Gas industry should read this book. Hopefully others can learn from these mistakes and save lives!
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen excellent read 29. Dezember 2012
Von bookfan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
I really enjoyed Lustgarten's discussion of the BP disaster, especially the way he highlights the organizational culture that greatly enhanced the likelihood of such a disaster (for example, the tragic explosion at BP's Texas City refinery or the oil spill in Alaska, or the many environmental and worker safety violations given to BP in the years before the Mancodo well explosion and the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon). I was interested in the book's title, which has a special meaning that captures the essence of this dysfunctional organizational culture. Lustgarten wrote a BP series for Propublica, and many earlier bits of this story can be found at the website. However,he puts everything together in this well-written and compelling book. Everyone who wonders what happened and why will find this book useful.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Impressive Work, Impressive Writing 9. August 2012
Von S. Tschinkel - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is as about multiple failures, not just that of BP. It is principally about the failure of BP leadership to properly understand it's own business. It is about a failure of leadership on behalf of corporate leaders at BP and management. It is also about the failure (or if not failure, the limitations) of government. And it is about how capitalism can fail us.

The author, to his credit, has not written some left wing/anti-capitalism polemic which is why this book is so important. It is thoughtful and has a snappy pace.

And, it is balanced (as much as a book can be when NOT A SINGLE BP executive allowed himself to be interviewed for the book.) The author mentions on several occasions that other petroleum & energy companies, such as Exxon (yes, Exxon, reformed since the Valdez spill in 1989) have corporate cultures which really do aim to minimize environmental impacts by placing real emphasis on best health & safety practices.

It is also important reading if one wishes to understand how difficult, how complex, how dangerous and how massive the pursuit of petroleum is in today's world.
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