Voser – Shell would not have made BP’s mistakes

I will be blogging today from the first day of the Oil & Money conference in London, where the great and the good of the oil business are thronging the hallways of one of the city’s swishest hotels.

The keynote speech this morning was delivered by Peter Voser, the CEO of Shell. He talked about the role natural gas has to play in global energy supplies, and especially in the UK, which our energy editor Sylvia Pfeifer wrote about in today’s FT.

But when it came to the Q&A sessions, there are no prizes for guessing what came up first: the BP oil spill. How far would Voser go in criticising his company’s main rival? How confident was he that such an incident would not happen to Shell?

His reply went further than I expected in attacking BP:

From what I know today Shell clearly would have drilled this well in a different way and would have had more options to prevent the accident from happening.

He also stressed the lessons for the industry as a whole, saying that it was not prepared to handle a spill of that size. But he stressed that Shell had reviewed its safety standards in 2007 and said he was confident in the practices the company now had in place.

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