The Right Strategy for BP’s Oil Leak Problems: Less Talk, More Action

Bird rescued by BP

Every time someone from BP opened their mouth to talk about the oil leak problems in the Gulf of Mexico, they only caused damage to the BP brand. The unseen, and unforeseen effects on BP’s future (and not only) can be summarized in President Obama’s words:

“For too long, for a decade or more, there’s been a cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency that permits them to drill,” Obama said, referring to the Minerals Management Service. “It seems as if permits were too often issued based on little more than assurances of safety from the oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore.

The President lashed out at the BP (BP.L), Halliburton (HAL.N) and Transocean Ltd. (RIG.N) executives over their response to the spill that is a threatening ecological calamity on the U.S. Gulf Coast:

“You had executives of BP and Transocean and Halliburton falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else. The American people could not have been impressed with that display, and I certainly wasn’t.”

Sure, this is a matter that concerns the whole world, but let’s not discuss semantics. At least, Obama’s appeal seems to have some resonance with BP. The company’s engineers are attempting to stem the oil gushing from a pipe at the bottom of the ocean with an insertion device.

BP is working in an area on the sea floor a mile below the surface to try to move the 6-inch tube into the 21-inch riser pipe. BP plans to attempt to draw the oil up to a tanker floating on the surface, – MarketWatch reports.

“We hope to begin operations overnight,” – BP executive Doug Suttles said. “What took you so long?” – should be the media response.

The next smart thing to do would be to put BP boss Tony Hayward in the middle of the action, at work, among the workers. He’d be better in this role than that of a speaker. Lead by example, as they say. Well, enough with the free PR advice. That’s Brunswick’s job.