"NEW ORLEANS — Four years ago the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caught fire and exploded, killing 11 men, spewing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and staining, seemingly indelibly, the image of BP, the international energy giant responsible for the well.
Its reputation in free fall, the company set aside billions of dollars and saturated the airwaves with contrite pledges to make thousands of businesses and workers whole, from shrimpers to hotel owners to charter boat operators.
Four years on, BP is no longer on the defensive. In March, the federal government allowed the company, after a period of exile, to bid for oil and gas leases in the gulf. On April 15, BP announced the end of active shoreline cleanup with so much fanfare that the Coast Guard quickly reassured the public that the operation was far from over."