BP chief executive Bob Dudley on Tuesday said the company was “a little bit saddened” by the Hollywood film released this year over the 2010 disaster on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, arguing it had done everything to win back trust.
The explosion in 2010 on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 men off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, causing 134 million gallons (507 million litres) of oil to spew into the sea in a major environmental disaster.
Speaking at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul, Bob Dudley confirmed that the company had spent over $61 billion “to restore trust” in paying off liabilities after the accident.
“We have been focused on earning back trust,” he said.
But Dudley praised the management team he put together from 2010 after taking over from Tony Hayward in the wake of the Deepwater tragedy to deal with the aftermath of the crisis.
“The accident shook the company to the core,” he said.
The film Deepwater Horizon, starring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Hudson and released in the US in September, shows how two workers on the oil rig help rescue their co-workers as families deal with the impact of the disaster back home.
“They (the management staff) have seen the movie, they are a little bid saddened by it,” Dudley said, adding that the film took sides by painting a picture of “heroes and villains”.
“That is not how it is real life,” said Dudley.
“We have had to restore trust day by day by delivering safe, reliable operations, and looking more widely,” said Dudley, noting that BP had to sell off a third of the company to meet its obligations after Deepwater.
But he also acknowledged “there is a longstanding issue of trust in the oil and gas industry” and “our industry has a real image problem in some countries”.
Dudley said the energy industry should be “proud of the service we deliver to the world” as it manages a “great transition” to keep meeting demand while fulfilling climate change commitments.