ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest international oil company, joined the world of corporate blogging Monday with a strong stand in defending the industry’s record in deepwater drilling. The move was surprising on several fronts. Exxon does not strike one as the blogging sort, calling for input on its ideas and engaging in a conversation on an industry it has long led. But ‘encouraging dialogue’, it says, is the plan.
Indeed, Exxon launched the site on the eve of a hearing of a subcommittee of the House energy and commerce committee at which the majors have been called to testify about the future of energy. The heads of Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips all expect the oil spill to be a main part of the questioning and are planning a strong defence. Nonetheless, Congressmen use platforms like this as a way to gain political mileage, and the industry fears it will face criticism for its inability to help BP stop the spill and contain it. The companies hope to make the case that they would never have had the need to stop and contain a disaster of this sort because they would never have it in the first place.