‘I would love my life back’ – the honouring of Tony Hayward

Robert Gordon University has honoured former BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward with an honourary degree.


You remember him – the man in charge when BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico blew up in 2010 killing 11 people.

That incident drew huge criticism of Mr Hayward but Mr Hayward is not a man to take criticism lying down famously protesting that he wanted to  ‘get on with his life’  – and why not.

So too presumably did –

Jason Anderson, married with two children

Aaron Dale Burkeen, married with two children

Donald Clark

Stephen Ray Curtis, married with two children

Gordon Jones, married and a father although he was killed three weeks before his son was born.

Roy Wyatt Kemp, married with a child

Karl Kleppinger, father of a child

Keith Blair Manuel, father of three children

Dewey A. Revette, married

Shane M. Roshto, married

Adam Weise

No doubt all would have been planning their futures with their families before they vanished, blown to smithereens.

Time is ‘a big healer. I’ve moved on from it to a very large degree’ says Tony Hayward.

Indeed it is Mr Hayward, indeed it is – and indeed you have.

Time is a big healer – unless you are dead of course, then time is a big black state of nothingness.

Don’t you warm to the man? So contrite, so obviously filled with remorse over the deaths of these men, the horrible injuries suffered by others and the impact on the the families and friends of the men affected, not to mention the destroyed livelihoods of people in the area.

Eleven men dead, over 1000 miles of coastal devastation from the 180 million gallons of toxic crude oil which polluted one of the world’s most fertile fishing areas, thereby devastating the livings of countless thousands of individuals and families. There was also the impact on the environment -on the over 400 species living in and around the Gulf: birds, mammals, fish, crustacea, turtles, sharks and even rare species of grasses.

Of all the victims of this disaster undoubtedly Mr Hayward had the most to lose, in monetary terms you understand, for he was paid £4 million a year by  BP to be their Mr Big.

RGU principal Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski might be impressed by the character of Tony Hayward but US congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, involved in the congress review of the Gulf of Mexico disaster  had this to say about him: –

‘…aloof and unprepared to answer the questions that were important to both our constituents and the American people.’

Mr Hayward is not slow to hit back at his critics who underplay his 30 years contribution to the oil and gas industry.

Such a shame that RGU and Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski did not see fit to offer honorary doctorates to those 11 men whose contribution to the oil and gas industry was sacrificing their lives.

For us in the northeast, Deepwater Horizon is reminiscent of Piper Alpha. Men trusting multi-billion oil and gas corporations for safe working condition.

The reality for the 11 in the Gulf of Mexico was a massive explosion slicing the metal infrastructure into shrapnel which ripped into the men desperately trying to escape. Some were trapped by the fallen wreckage of the shattered rig and consumed by the fireballs which coursed through the devastation.  A firestorm over the rig’s derrick ‘cooked’ men who had crawled up to the lifeboat deck in the search of a way out.

As well as the men who died others were horribly injured.

The New York Times reported the pressure put on Deepwater Horizon operations by BP managers ‘whose bonuses were heavily based on saving money and beating deadlines – (who) kept asking when the well would be finished.’  ‘BP has denied pressuring the Horizon’s crew to cut corners, but its plans for completing the well kept changing, often in ways that saved time but increased risk.’



Criticism has been applied to Tony Hayward

  • over his sailing trip on his £182 000 racing yacht with his son when it was thought he should have been handling the aftermath of the disaster.
  • In an interview with Sky News he claimed that the environmental impact of the oil spill will be ‘very, very modest.’
  • Speaking in Louisiana he protested, ‘there’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I would love my life back.’
  • BP tried to cover over Hayward’s insensitive pronouncements by spending $50million on TV promos which were criticised by Obama for wasting money that should have been used to compensate those who lost their livings in Louisiana.
  • Mr Hayward’s memory loss which limited his answers to the House of Representatives.

I went onto RGU’s website to read about the honour they’ve given to Mr Hayward but couldn’t find any mention. I tried a search on his name but still nothing came up. I tried its Facebook page but couldn’t find any mention there.


This is a spectacularly crass move by Robert Gordon University. It makes you wonder about the quality of the staff there who sanction such a degree.

3 Responses to “‘I would love my life back’ – the honouring of Tony Hayward”

  1. Ask yourself, what money could RGU make out of honouring the dead of Deepwater Horizon? No little cash kudos there, far better to fawn over the very industry which caused the deaths, that’s where the money is. Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of RGU, has garnered a reputation for being willing to confront locally difficult issues, for example associating himself with the Wood’s misbegotten Union Terrace Gardens project. One would think that having tied himself to such an obviously failed project the professor would have achieved greater political sensitivity and dare I say it wisdom. But sadly no. The learned man, who it seems has a reputation for squaring the rights of labour with the interests of business, is reported as saying “RGU’s main objective is to ensure that Aberdeen rediscovers a sense of vision and ambition”. In awarding an honorary degree to Hayward RGU might well strengthen its links with the oil industry but does he really think that it will give the city a sense of vision and ambition?

  2. Couldn’t have said it better. Well done Lena. And to coincide this with the Piper Alpha memorial week, what were RGU thinking?


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