Monday, August 07, 2006

A Fine PR Pickle 

BP, the oil giant, has shut North Slope oil production in Alaska because of corrosion in transport pipes. This whacks 400,000 barrels out of domestic production at a time when the nation is thirsty for energy. It also removes a prime source of tax revenue from the state of Alaska.

Wanna bet there will be legislative hearings somewhere into what is happening?

Environmentalists, while happy there hasn't been a major spill, will say, "I told you so. You can't trust oil production on the North Slope." Alaskans and consumers will say, "How long before the pipe is flowing again?" Pro-drilling advocates will say BP caught a problem before it happened, so it should be praised. Anti-drilling advocates will say there was a minor spill, so BP should have caught it sooner. BP is caught in the middle, and I'm sure its PR department is working overtime to issue progress reports on fixes.

It's not a comfortable spot to be in, but any essential industry is caught in the spotlight sooner or other -- such as the major power failure in New York City two weeks ago during the heat wave.

Thinking about it, working in a critical industry is a great place to learn PR crisis management.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?