Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Exxon’s Tillerson disputes comment by BP’s Dudley

Tension continues to surface regarding the Macondo well blowout and Gulf of Mexico oil spill nearly 1 year ago. ExxonMobil Corp. Chief Executive Rex Tillerson criticized comments made by BP PLC’s Chief Executive Bob Dudly at the IHS-CERA energy conference.

On Mar. 8 in Houston, Dudley said industry can learn from safety issues identified since the Apr. 20, 2010, Macondo well control incident in 5,000 ft of water off Louisiana. The blowout caused an explosion that killed 11 people aboard Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible drilling rig.

During a separate Mar. 9 news conference, Tillerson said the accident and spill primarily stemmed from management oversights by BP. Tillerson met with reporters following Exxon’s analyst meeting in New York.

“I think those comments are a great disservice to this industry,” Tillerson said of Dudley’s remarks. “This conclusion that this is a bigger problem for the industry is just wrong.”

Top executives of major oil companies rarely express negative comments about one another, but Tillerson openly disputed Dudley’s comments.

“I think the industry manages this risk well. When you do things the proper way, these things don’t happen,” Tillerson said. He believes Exxon manages risk well, relying on a system it developed after the Exxon Valdez tanker spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound.

Tillerson’s unhappiness with his BP counterpart's industry remarks is an unusual demonstration of tension between oil companies.

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