Abstract

Business Continuity (BC) is defined as the capability of the organization to continue delivery of products or services at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive incident. (Source: ISO 22301:2012)

Business continuity management (BCM) is a framework for identifying an organization's risk of exposure to internal and external threats. The goal of BCM is to provide the organization with the ability to effectively respond to threats such as natural disasters or data breaches and protect the business interests of the organization.

The April 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) Macondo blowout resulted in death of 11 people and the US government estimated that approximately 5 million barrels of crude oil was discharged into the ocean. The well was declared officially sealed about 5 months after the blowout. In July 2015, British Petroleum (BP) agreed to pay $18.7 Billion in fines, the largest corporate settlement in US history. This paper will catalogue the major BCM lessons learnt from the incident.

BCM includes disaster recovery, business recovery, crisis management, incident management, emergency management and contingency planning. It is aimed at identifying risk, threats and vulnerabilities that could impact an entity's continued operations and provides a framework for building organizational resilience and the capability for an effective response.

This paper will concentrate on the efficiency and effectiveness of BP's crisis management, disaster recovery and contingency planning in a flux environment in the wake of the disaster. The theatre of the Macondo blowout was set against a backdrop of transitioning internal environment and a changing external environment. Transcripts of media communications, results of emergency response and intervention plans and rationale will serve as pointers for deconstructing BCM plan outcomes.

Observations, conclusions and recommendations from copious volumes of investigation reports reviews and published reports as well as accounts of successful BCM from other landmark blowouts and oil spills in the industry will be employed in distilling the keys lessons that will give any other operator facing such a disaster a head start in future.

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