The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG045
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 1989-2004
Pub. Date : 2005
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Exxon
Industry : Petroleum and Petrochemicals
Countries : US

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts Contd...

The Damage Done

The crude oil contaminated 1300 miles of the coastline causing severe damage to the environment. The spilled oil and the subsequent clean- up efforts had a severe negative impact on birds and sea animals.

According to the EVOSTC, more than 35,000 birds with their feathers soaked in oil were found dead within a couple of days after the spill. The spill killed an estimated 2,50,000 seabirds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, 22 Orca or killer whales and billions of salmon and herring eggs (Refer Exhibit VI for a detailed list of the species affected and Exhibit VII for photographs of the disaster).

The fisherman and other people living in the region were badly affected as well. The spill severely impacted the South Central Alaska fisheries, which provided the means of livelihood for the region's small communities. Fishermen suffered heavy economic losses as the fisheries were shut down in 1989...

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The Aftermath

In 1991, after a civil suit was filed against Exxon, the US Federal court approved establishing of $900 mn restoration fund (payable over a period of 10 years), the largest settlement on record for damage done to natural resources.

An EV Oil Spill Trustee Council (EVOSTC) was appointed to oversee and coordinate the restoration efforts. On October 09, 1991, a US district court resolved various criminal charges against Exxon as well as civil claims brought by the federal and state governments for recovery of natural resource damages resulting from the oil spill.

The settlement had three distinct parts. Exxon was fined $150 mn, the largest fine ever imposed for an environmental crime. Exxon was also asked to pay $100 mn for the injuries caused to wildlife. In 1994, 35,000 fishermen and other disaster victims in the Alaskan region filed a lawsuit against Exxon, claiming $5 bn as punitive damages...

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Exhibit I: Map of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
Exhibit II: The Oil Pollution Act (1990)
Exhibit III A: Exxonmobil - Consolidated Statement of Income (1999-2003)
Exhibit III B: Exxonmobil - Financial Highlights (1999-2003)
Exhibit IV: A Note on Exxon Valdez
Exhibit V: Clean-Up Methods Adopted by Exxon
Exhibit VI: Recovery Status in PWS (2002)
Exhibit VII: Images from the Evos


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