BP and the Whiting Refinery: Beyond Petroleum (A)

by: Tom Lyon

Publication Date: December 5, 2008
Length: 11 pages
Product ID#: 1-428-727

Core Disciplines: Economics, Negotiations, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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This case describes the situation facing BP America’s President Bob Malone in late 2007, while attempting to expand the refining capacity at their Whiting, Indiana plant. They had followed all the rules set out by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and legally obtained a permit for expansion. Still, they were swiftly attacked by environmentalists from the surrounding area. The BP and the Whiting Refinery case parts (A) and (B) ask students to evaluate BP’s decision and its options for moving forward with the expansion.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • The nature of the environmental regulatory process and how it affects business decisions
  • The potential for tensions between different government entities in environmental matters
  • The role of stakeholder groups in strategic management
  • The difficulty of predicting outcomes in the regulatory arena and the need for strategies that create option value
  • Pressures for going beyond compliance with regulations