Failure seems to pay for ATP execs

ATP Oil & Gas’ Titan platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Wednesday’s column, available on houstonchronicle.com:

What’s the price of failure? If you’re an executive at ATP Oil & Gas, it’s about five times the price of success.

The bankrupt Houston company at the end of last year awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses to top executives – members of the same management team that put the company in bankruptcy back in August.

Yet for all that pay, ATP remains a muddled mess and creditors paint a picture of a management team that has consistently overspent and under-delivered. As a result, ATP’s reorganization in bankruptcy grows more unlikely by the day.

ATP is one of the smallest companies drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In filing for Chapter 11, it claimed it was a victim of the federal drilling moratorium enacted after 2010?s Deepwater Horizon disaster, and it’s been struggling to finance its operations ever since.