The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

House Hearing on the Oil Spill

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted June 15, 2010

Five top-ranking oil company officers are testifying on Capitol Hill at this hour before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. Early in the hearing, they expressed their heartfelt concern for the 11 men who lost their lives in the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and some briefly described their companies' safety procedures.

Chairman and CEO Rex W. Tillerson of ExxonMobil mentioned the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker spill and explained its impact on the company's safety procedures:

"That accident was the low-point in ExxonMobil's history. But it was also a turning point. In the aftermath, we launched a full-scale, top-to-bottom review of our operations, and implemented far-reaching actions that today guide every operating decision we make on a daily basis. An overriding commitment to safety excellence is embedded in everything we do, with a daily commitment by our employees and contractors to a culture that 'Nobody Gets Hurt.'"

Chairman and CEO John S. Watson of Chevron described his company's Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS):

"With OEMS, we systematically audit our procedures to assure compliance, identify and reduce risk of incidents, ensure preparedness for emergency response and improve overall performance. Providing the critical energy supplies our country needs is a responsibility we take very seriously."

CEO James J. Mulva of ConocoPhillips called the Deepwater Horizon accident "a matter of national urgency" and addressed the importance of deepwater energy development to the nation:

"Once...we have all fully taken stock of the lessons to be learned from this disaster, the business of offshore exploration will and must continue. It will continue because we can and will do it safely and responsibly. And it must continue, not only for what it yields for our nation, but also because that's what America does. We learn new lessons and move forward to higher levels of progress and achievement."

The hearing is being broadcast on CSPAN-3.

Tonight President Obama will address the nation on the oil spill after completing his fourth trip to the Gulf. And on Thursday BP CEO Tony Hayward will testify before a House committee.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.