Press Office

Thursday 27 Nov 2014

Press Release

Former BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward talks exclusively to BBC Two

In a world exclusive, BP's former Chief Executive Tony Hayward talks to BBC Two about the worst three months in BP's history, charting the impact of the environmental disaster that pushed BP to the brink of financial meltdown.

In the definitive insiders account, BP: $30 Billion Blowout (A Money Programme Special) gains unprecedented access to the business and political figures behind the BP crisis. Current Chief Executive Bob Dudley talks about the dire financial constraints that emerged as the world's fourth largest company simultaneously fought an environmental and PR disaster that threatened BP's financial survival.

The film explores the unique relationship between politics, money and our most precious resource – oil. And looks back at how BP's extraordinary history has shaped our country's finances and the international oil industry.

For the first time, former BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward recounts what it felt like to run a multi-national company in financial meltdown whilst being personally criticised by the world's most powerful man, President Obama: "You know it's very difficult to hate a company, it's much easier to hate an individual".

And he looks back at some of the negative press coverage that he faced over the summer including criticism for a yachting expedition 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."

He looks back at the financial constraints that threatened BP's future: "Prior to the meeting with the White House the capital markets were effectively closed to BP, we were not able to borrow in the capital markets, either short or medium term debt at all... It was a classic financial crises issue. It wasn't about the cash flow of the company it was about the liquidity."

And he discusses the PR gaffes that threatened the company, almost as much as the oil spill itself: "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."

Current Chief Executive Bob Dudley explains the extent of BP's financial difficulties: "Word was beginning to circulate externally about the potential going under of BP. Could it survive this accident? ...The Bank of America called, it wouldn't buy crude from us, suppliers were asking for money up front. This was a very unusual environment for BP."

From the Money Programme team who made Love of Money, BP: $30 Billion Blowout chronicles how an environmental disaster impacted a multi-billion dollar organisation unprepared for a ferocious political and media storm of unparalleled proportions.

Martin Davidson, BBC Commissioning Editor for Business and History: "BP's management of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the business story of the summer. BP: $30 Billion Blowout looks behind the headlines to offer the definitive behind the scenes account of a unique collection of events that changed the shape of one of the world's largest companies."

BP: $30 Billion Blowout (1x60) was commissioned by Martin Davidson, and is executive produced by Dominic Crossley-Holland and Simon Finch for BBC Productions.
On BBC Two at 9pm, Tuesday 9 November.

Horizon – Deepwater Disaster: The Untold Story
Horizon reveals the untold story of the 87 day battle to kill the Deepwater Horizon oil blowout a mile beneath the waves.

Engineers and oil men at the heart of the crisis talk for the first time about the colossal engineering challenges they faced and how they had to improvise under extreme pressure.

They tell of how they used household junk, discarded steel boxes and a giant underwater cutting shear to stop the oil.

It's an operation that one insider likens to the rescue of Apollo 13.

Horizon – Deepwater Disaster: The Untold Story (1x60) is executive produced by Aidan Laverty for BBC Productions.
On BBC Two at 9pm, Tuesday 16 November.

Stephen Fry and the Great American Oil Spill
Four months after the worst environmental disaster in America's history, Stephen Fry travels to Louisiana together with his friend, the zoologist and naturalist Mark Carwardine.

In a moving film, they explore the everyday effects of the ecological disaster, find out how people are coping, and discover whether life has returned to normal for those challenged by a disaster that threatened the livelihood of thousands.
On Sunday 7 November and can be watched on BBC iPlayer.


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