Sample Essay on BP Oil Spill: Major Public Relations Issue

BP Oil Spill

BP Oil Spill: Major Public Relations Issue


BP Oil Spill was also called the deepwater horizon oil spill. It is among the worst disasters of oil spill in humanity history. This is due to the extent of the damage that it had in regards to humanity, environment and the economy. Over 200 million crude oil gallons were pumped in the Gulf of Mexico context during this spill. This took place in approximately 87 days making this spill the biggest and the worst in the United States’ history. About 16,000 miles along the coastline were affected by this disaster including Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and Florida coasts. This oil was washing up the shores even after the gushing well was capped in July 2010 (Griggs, 2011). During this incident, 11 people died and 17 were critically injured.

Operations in the travel industry, oil industries, fishing industries and the environmental agencies were affected by this oil spill in different ways. This research aims at examining the main issues of public relations that BP had with the public segments that were affected. The study will do this by evaluating the response of BP to every public segment or the audience. Additionally, the study will evaluate the message content, means as well as the applicable media for delivering this important message. This study will also focus on critiquing the response strategy of BP towards ending the issue that affected its reputation and image as an organization in regards to the relevant publics and audiences. Finally, the study will integrate and develop quality recommendation regarding the alternative strategies and use of the tools of public relations.

Fishing Industry

How BP Responded to the Audience

Among the public segments that were affected the most by this oil spill in 2010 is the fishing industry. The Gulf of Mexico residents faced several implications of this oil spill which was the largest in the United States’ history after it exploded in 2010. There are several implications that are experienced even today in this region in relation to the fishing industry. They include reduction in sea animals which most fishing industry operators depend on. While responding to such implications, BP tried to compensate the fishing industry’s victims for damages that they suffered after the explosion of the oil spill in 2010. Various residents in the region believed that the fishing industry, the economy, wild life and breaches would take a short time to recover after this spill.

Message, Means and Media to Deliver the Message

The importance of compensation was the major message that BP sent in response to the fishing industry’s implications of this oil spill. BP tried to assist the industry in overcoming the implications faced. It used its attorneys in delivering the compensation message to oil spill victims. This indicates that the company through attorneys agreed to the idea of compensating the fishing industry’s victims of this oil spill. Although it provided a solution to the immediate context’s problem, this strategy had several faults in terms of focus and implementation.

Comment on BP’s Response Strategy

The strategy that BP used to handle the fishing industry’s implications was not appropriate in enhancing its reputation and image. Its reputation and image had been tainted by the way it handled the greatest or the largest oil spill in the United States’ history. Additionally, the strategy focused on immediate implications instead of future implications that the spill had on the industry. BP should have given priority to its reputation and image among the fishing industry’s anglers. The organization ought to have improved its image to them and how it interacted with the public segments or audiences in all operations. However, this strategy was important when it comes to sustaining major industry stakeholders’ needs. This indicates that BP took a short term approach instead of a long-term approach. Additionally, the focus of the strategy was on the stakeholders’ short term needs instead of the industry’s reputation and image (Safford et al., 2012).


While handling the issue of oil spill, BP ought to have focused on the implementation of public relations’ processes. Such processes include data collection or fact finding, planning, research evaluation and communication. These are important processes in enhancing the reputation and image of the company among different public segments and audiences. Instead of using government relations while handling this issue, the organization ought to have focused on media relations and community integration in interacting with different audiences appropriately and effectively. This is vital in generating long term objectives and goals in regards to quality reputation and image in its operations. Additionally, direct communication methods could have played an important role of demonstrating that BP cares about the fishing industry’s stakeholders who were affected by the spill.

Travel Industry

How BP Responded to the Audience

In the United States’ context, tourism seems to be among the most vital industries. Additionally, tourism is among the industries with the highest vulnerability to disasters and crisis. The tourism or travel industry was greatly impacted on by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This is because the oil spill limited individuals’ movement in the water that was affected. It also reduced trade volumes for restaurant and hotel owners since their businesses are largely dependent on the tourism or travel industry (Ritchie et al., 2013). BP aimed at evaluating or examining the major stakeholders’ material costs in responding or handling these implications.

It did this by determining the entire cost of this issue under legal courts’ influence. Its aim was to address claims thatProofreading-Editing were made by relevant business operators or owners. This indicates that BP used attorneys to settle claims or disputes raised by the major stakeholders in the tourism industry. BP also prevented individuals’ movement which hindered them from traveling through or accessing the affected areas. It did this by using the relevant tools of public relations such as government agencies and advertising. This approach was aimed at limiting individuals’ movements because this would increase negative implications that the spill would have on relevant stakeholders in this industry (Mbarrett, 2013).

Message, Means and Media to Deliver the Message

The focus of the message in the context of the tourism or travel industry was on compensation for business owners’ losses and safety. The media used in encoding the message for major shareholders in the tourism or travel industry included government industry, advertising and lawyers. It ought to be noted that the main objective in the use of these tools of public relations was to improve travelers’ safety and the organization’s image. Although short term objectives and goals were addressed, the faults or costs of this strategy were great in regards to the reputation and image of the company in the industry.

Comment on Bp’s Response Strategy

BP’s response strategy was aimed at enhancing stakeholders’ conditions as well as enhancing the reputation and image of the company. One objective was achieved by this strategy but the other was not due to different factors that relate to public relations approaches and tools. The attempts of the organization to assess negative implications’ extent of the oil spill in the US failed. This shows that the settlement of the court may not have showed the ideal image of the spill’s influence on the tourism or travel industry.


The focus of the organization ought to have been on promoting its reputation and image through the use of different mechanisms whose aim is to help the response strategy and the achievement of the set target and goal. This would have been achieved by executing different processes of public relations through evaluation, findings implementation, communication and data collection. Additionally, the organization focus should have been on community interaction development with an aim of achieving indirect and direct stakeholders’ engagement during the oil spill.

Environmental Agencies
How BP Responded to the Audience

There were critical damages that were incurred by the environmental agencies as well following the BP oil spill of 2010. BP had the responsibility of determining the approach that was most effective in handling various issues that affected environmental agencies after the oil spill. Among the strategies that the organization used in handling the oil spill’s implication was spill grants’ integration. These grants were aimed at addressing short-term and long-term issues that affected environmental agencies’ management in the US. Additionally, BP used government agency, the United States Environmental Protection Agency to manage various issues that affected the environment. This was done by adopting and implementing 9 cooperative agreements in the local non-profit making and community-based organizations or entities within the Gulf Region (EPA’s Oversight, 2011). The implemented projects were important because they provided support to the efforts that were aimed at protecting the environment and human health among the communities that the BP oil spill affected.

Message, Means and Media to Deliver the Message

The focus of the message while developing and implementing the strategy was on environmental and health protection in the Gulf Region. Community agencies, advertising and government agencies were used in communicating the message to relevant entities. Additionally, advertising mechanisms and the social media were used by the organization in displaying the importance of protecting the environment and managing the impacts of the 2010’s oil spill. Just like the strategies used in the other industries, the strategy that was used in handling the issue of this oil spill in relation to the environment was ineffective due to its several shortcomings.

Comment on BP’s Response Strategy

The oil spill grants that BP provided to assist in environmental agencies’ management indicated a rushed decision. They demonstrated that the organization did not conduct substantive evaluation in order to determine the exact result of this situation before compensating stakeholders that were affected in the industry (Safford et al., 2012). The focus of this strategy was on promoting environmental and health protection instead of the reputation and image of the company. This organization ought to have implemented long-term strategies with an aim of resurrecting its reputation and image. Additionally, the strategy of BP failed to address short-term objectives and long-term goals efficiently and effectively (Safford et al., 2012).


The focus of the strategy should have been on minimizing the 2010 oil spill’s influence. This could have been achieved by reducing the taken days through government agencies and communal integration in environmental and health protection. Additionally, the organization ought to have focused more on reputation and image as its motives in protecting the environment and health in order to realize sustainable development within the US.

Oil Industry

How BP Responded to the Audience

This oil spill also affected the United States’ oil industry. This is because the spill led to an increase in the oil prices as wells as the destruction or damage of the reputation and image of the entire industry in terms of environmental and health protection (Winkler & Gordon, 2013). Different oil industry’s entities filed suits that sought compensation for the 2010 oil spill’s implication. BP responded to such issues by trying to compensate the industry’s operators in regards to the ruling of the legal courts on this matter (Gandel, 2010).

Message, Means and Media to Deliver the Message

Environmental protection and human health promotion was the main message while developing and implementing the strategy. Government agencies and the media were used.

Comment on BP’s Response Strategy

This was inappropriate and ineffective response strategy because BP did not conduct extensive research to determine damage extent. Today, the organization is lamenting that stakeholders tend to cash in compensations of the oil spill inappropriately. This is among the major results of examining the issue that affected the organization inefficiently. Additionally, compensation was insufficient in terms of reviving the reputation and image of the company in places where it had its operations.


While handling the oil spill issue, the company ought to have avoided rushing decisions in developing response strategies. It should have done this by integrating extensive research in the examination of damage extent and accuracy of the strategies used in handling this issue. Furthermore, adoption and implementation of appropriate tools of public relations is important for this company to responds to issues properly. This is in reference to 2010’s oil spill.


The deepwater horizon oil spill or BP Oil Spill is among the worst disasters involving oil in the humanity history. This idea relates to various implications that this oil spill had on the oil, environmental, travel and fishing industry. BP’s response strategies while handling the oil spill’s implications on different audiences were inappropriate and inadequate towards the realization of quality reputation and image as the results of efficient use of the tools of public relations (Marine Scientists, 2012). The focus of the organization ought to have been on effective integration of the tools of public relations that include government agencies, environmental concepts, mass communication and community agencies while addressing this issue.

At, we promise our clients quality sample essay and fine writing services. Therefore, feel free to seek help on how to write a sample essay on BP Oil Spill: Major Public Relations Issue.



EPA’s Oversight Role Should Be Strengthened With Respect to Oil Spills of National      Significance. (2011). Hazardous Waste Consultant, 29(6), 1.1-1.4.

Gandel, S. (2010). Cleaning Up On the Spill. Time, 176(3), 24-27.

Griggs, J. (2011). BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. Energy Law Journal, 32(1), 57-79.

Marine Scientists Urge U.S. To Reassess Oil Spill Response. (2012). Pipeline & Gas          Journal, 239(5), 109-110.

Mbarrett, P. (2013). Spillapalooza: How Bp Got Screwed In The Golf. (cover story).         Bloomberg Businessweek, (4336), 52-57

Ritchie, B., Crotts, J., Zehrer, A., & Volsky, G. (2013). Understanding the Effects of a Tourism Crisis: The Impact of the BP Oil Spill on Regional Lodging Demand Journal   of Travel Research.

Safford, T. G., Ulrich, J. D., & Hamilton, L. C. (2012). Public perceptions of the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Personal experiences, information sources, and social        context. Journal Of Environmental Management, 11331-39.

Winkler, D. T., & Gordon, B. L. (2013). The Effect of the BP Oil Spill on Volume and     Selling Prices of Oceanfront Condominiums. Land Economics, 89(4), 614-631.