For most of its eight-decade history, Nalco has quietly gone about its business of producing specialty chemicals for water treatment and industrial processes. It had a higher profile in the 1970s when it challenged federal efforts to phase out the use of lead in gasoline and one of its subsidiaries was charged with botching the safety testing of drugs and chemicals.
Gulf of Mexico
BP (formerly British Petroleum) has become one of the world’s most controversial giant corporations because of its involvement in a series of major environmental and industrial accidents. The company has been the target of intense criticism for its role in the April 2010 explosion at a drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers and caused an underwater leak that has spewed millions of gallons of crude oil into the ocean, creating the most serious environmental disaster in U.S. history.
Anadarko Petroleum has used internal expansion and bold acquisitions to become one of the largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies in the world. In 2010 it found itself caught up in controversies stemming from an oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, both because it is a minority (25%) owner of the BP well involved and because its own deepwater drilling operations are among those now viewed as being very risky.