• STV
  • MySTV

University defends degree for Deepwater Horizon boss Tony Hayward

Robert Gordon University has called former BP boss Tony Hayward 'a role model' despite student anger and protests at honorary degree

Deepwater Horizon BP oil rig disaster in USA 2010 oil spill environment quality image Public domain image

Robert Gordon University has defended its decision to award an honorary degree to an oil boss who resigned from BP after one of the biggest spills in history.

The university told STV Tony Hayward was "a role model" who had "made a huge contribution to the oil and gas industry" as it made him a Doctor of Technology.

Dr Hayward resigned as CEO of BP in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. The disaster was the worst offshore oil spill ever seen in the United States.

Eleven people died in the initial accident and a massive fire burned for 36 hours before the Deepwater Horizon rig sank.

The following days and weeks saw more than four million barrels of oil spew into the Gulf, according to US government estimates. It led to a state of emergency in Louisiana and prompted US president Barack Obama to halt all offshore drilling.

The disaster also wiped almost £50bn off BP’s share price. Three years later compensation is still being paid to those affected and BP says it has spent more than £16bn so far in clean up and restoration costs.

Students at the university expressed their anger at the award. Incoming Student President Paul Greene said they would be "very disappointed" at the news.

He said: "As a student movement we need to ensure that universities have a responsibility to society. Giving a degree to people who have an environmental record like this isn’t conductive to that responsibility."

And environmental groups branded the move "a sick joke."

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: "Robert Gordon University have made a very serious error of judgement with this award which sends exactly the wrong message to current and future students. Tony Hayward presided over the world's largest oil spill but continually played down its significance and trivialised the deaths of 11 people."

A spokesman for Greenpeace added: “Making the man who was in charge during the Deepwater Horizon disaster a Doctor of Technology is like awarding the captain of the Exxon Valdez a honorary degree in Maritime Navigation. Mr Hayward would need to have no sense of humour whatsoever to accept this award with a straight face.”

The degree announcement comes just days after an expert panel told the US Congress they might struggle to put a final cost on the disaster.

A few months ago Dr Hayward was heckled and shouted down by students at Birmingham University. They accused BP of actively lobbying in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.