In an effort to differentiate itself from others in the category, notably BP, on the safety front, ExxonMobil this week launched a blog called "Perspectives" about the BP spill.
The blog, penned by Ken Cohen, vp, public and government affairs, purports to offer "our company's views on the issues, policies, technologies and trends that are shaping the energy industry." The first entry, though, is mostly about the BP spill.
"What happened at the Deepwater Horizon rig is a tragedy on many levels -- from the terrible loss of life involved, to the ongoing impact of the spill on the environment, communities and businesses of the Gulf Coast. Everyone at ExxonMobil shares in the concern over the accident and spill, and we have contributed personnel and equipment to help with the response," reads the introduction.
The blog goes on to explain that there are some 14,000 other deep-water wells that didn't explode and implies that BP's oversight was lacking: "What we do know is that when you properly design wells for the range of risk anticipated; follow established procedures; build in layers of redundancy; properly inspect and maintain equipment; train operators; conduct tests and drills; and focus on safe operations and risk management, tragic incidents like the one in the Gulf of Mexico today should not occur."
Cynthia Bergman, an Exxon spokesperson, said the blog is designed to address public policy issues, but "obviously, right now people have a lot of questions, as do we, about the spill." She said no advertising is planned around the new communications.
The introduction of the blog comes as Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, along with the chief executives of ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell, testified before a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel today probing the BP spill. Tillerson maintained that proper workforce training, along with redundant safety systems and regular maintenance cut the risk of deep-water drilling. "We need to know if the levels of risk taken went beyond industry norms," Tillerson said.