CERAWeek '13: BP touts safety commitment in wake of Gulf oil spill

By Ben DuBose
Online Editor

HOUSTON -- BP has become a substantially safer company in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, the group’s CEO said on Wednesday.

Bob Dudley, who gave the opening keynote address on Wednesday at the IHS CERAWeek conference, said his company had learned from the accident and shared its lessons with industry.

“Two years ago, when I stood here in this very spot, I said I was determined that we would emerge from the Deepwater Horizon accident as a safer, stronger, more sustainable company,” Dudley said.

“We have made good on those promises. We are honoring our commitments. We have set new standards. We continue working very systematically on safety and our record is improving.”

Dudley took the reins at BP in the months following the April 2010 spill, replacing former CEO Tony Hayward.

BP, along with rig owner Transocean and services contractor Halliburton, is currently on trial in a civil lawsuit over spill-related damages. On Wednesday, Dudley appeared to draw a contrast between his company and the others.

“Among the many responsible parties, we alone stepped up from the outset, acknowledging our role, waving the liability cap and committing ourselves to help restore the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast region,” he said.

“We did not wait for a court to determine fault in order to do what we believed to be the right thing.”

Dudley said BP, which leased and operated the rig, is vigorously defending itself. However, it remains determined to make that case in the courtroom, rather than the media.

“We believe the law and the facts are on our side, and we have faith in the legal system,” he said.

The company says it has already spent over $24 billion in response, clean-up and restoration costs and in payments on claims made by individuals, businesses and governments.

On the management side, Dudley cited the formation of a “powerful safety and operational risk team” that works alongside all company businesses.

“We have restructured our business to continue driving systematic and reliable operations worldwide,” he said.

Dudley noted that even after the disaster, BP remains the largest deepwater leaseholder in the Gulf of Mexico, with seven large deepwater rigs operating.

CERAWeek continues through Friday at the Hilton Americas in downtown Houston.

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