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Oil spill cleanup: After digging deep to kill well, BP faces long climb

Killing the well at this point was the easy part of the oil spill cleanup for the beleaguered corporate giant, whose image will be stained, and bottom

by Patrik Jonsson
Publication: The Christian Science Monitor

September 20, 2010


A big squirt of concrete and it was done. Five months after the start of the Gulf oil spill, BP on Sunday finally killed the renegade Macondo well, which shared its name with the doomed town in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's book "One Hundred Years of Solitude."

The final relief well "kill" – performed 18,000 feet below the sea floor – provided little more than a symbolic end to a summer-long disaster that put the Gulf oil industry, resort towns, and fishing communities in the grip of a crude-infused calamity that reopened wounds from hurricane Katrina five years earlier.

"This is ultimately a story about corporate reputation and corporate liability," says James O'Rourke, a management professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. "Clearly, the litigators want everybody to shut up and say nothing and then fight the battle in court. But ultimately the court of public opinion may determine more of the company's forward success than a court of law."

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