More criticism of BP’s drilling practices, but this time from a competitor

Speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival, of which Shell is a sponsor, Joe Leimkuhler and John Hollowell of Shell Upstream Americas explained the engineering behind deep-sea oil drilling.

In this informative and clear presentation (watch video below: provided courtesy of Aspen Ideas Festival) Mr. Leimkuhler details best off-shore drilling practices in the industry. He highlights, in a side by side comparison with Shell’s own design, how BP’s Macondo well lacked crucial fail-safe safety mechanisms, which according to him, comprise Shell’s global standards in offshore drilling.

In response to the US authorities’ efforts in seeking a moratorium on all deepwater drilling, Mr. Leimkuhler defended Shell’s wells and called on a moratorium on off-shore drilling using the cheaper “long string” design wells, like the Macondo Well. These currently account for 26 percent of all off-shore wells that have been drilled in the Gulf of Mexico since 2003, including two that Shell has drilled itself.

The presentation is part of a concerted effort by Shell to advertise its offshore drilling safety standards, and to differentiate itself from BP.

When the Alaskan communities expressed concern over the safety of offshore drilling standards, Pete Slaiby, the vice-president of Shell Alaska told the BBC:

“The Gulf of Mexico may have been a wake-up call for some but not for Shell”