Monday, November 23, 2015

PTT: Oil Spill (2013)

Petroleum Authority of Thailand(PTT) logo
On July 27, 2013, Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) had their fourth oil spill in the company's thirty-seven years of operation. Although it is not always the fault of a company when a freak occurrence like this happens, it is the responsibility of the company to limit the damage, clean up the mess that they made, and compensate those who they hurt when their disaster struck. It is not whether or not the problem occurs that is the ethical issue, it is how it is solved. After PTT's spill, They failed to communicate with stakeholders, leaving local hotels at only 15% of their capacity, along with many other stakeholders feeling the effects of their ill-preparedness. The company was not prepared for this disaster, and they did no favors for stakeholders in their actions afterward. Instead, they worried about their reputation and image which ended up hurting them in the end.

The stakeholders involved in this controversy include Employees, the environment, local business owners, locals, and tourists.

Utilitarians would say that this incident was unethical. The happiness of everyone was not taken into consideration before or after this event. PTT was only concerned with profits in the beginning and afterward were only worried about their image. A Utilitarian would say that PTT should have been better prepared for this, and more open to communication afterward. That is the way to ensure the most happiness for all involved.


Individualism would say that this controversy was not as bad as it seemed. The company was just worried about maintaining profits, which should be their main goal. In the long run, however, profits would reflect that if the company handled the situation differently, in the beginning, they probably would have ended up in a better spot. PTT took the gamble of saving money by preparing less, and it did not pay off.

Virtue TheoryVirtue Theory would say that the company is unethical based on the four virtues they should have followed.

  • Courage - The company did not have the courage to face the public or the stakeholders soon enough after the disaster. They handled it poorly instead of confronting everyone. 
  • Temperance- PTT should have expected to need more of a cleanup crew in case of an accident such as this. They should have had a better protocol to follow. 
  • Justice- If PTT valued justice, they would have sooner contacted the stakeholders and helped them out, rather than waiting for a lawsuit to come from them. 
  • Honesty- By trying to hide, change, and limit the information given to the public about the spill, PTT lost the virtue of honesty. 
PTT oil spill in Thailand

Kantianism would suggest that PTT's actions were unethical. The intentions behind all of their actions were to make a profit for themselves, and they disregarded the well-being of all other stakeholders. Instead of spending the money to prepare, PTT had to fly in an aircraft and sail in 5 extra ships from other companies to fix their mess. They also did not contact local business owners to discuss compensation.

Justified Ethics EvaluationPTT took a gamble when they decided not to shell out money for extra preparations and precautions, and in this case, it did not work out for them. This is not necessarily unethical, but it did not work out in their favor. What was clearly unethical, was PTT refraining from open communication with its stakeholders after the event. They limited information and refrained from contact with the public as well as local businesses. For this reason, they should be declared unethical

In conclusion, PTT was unethical in their actions. They failed to stick to the very core values and mission statement that they based their company on. PTT was ill prepared for this and handled it in a way that must have surprised all stakeholders based upon what they were promised.


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