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Markey Will Demand Oil Companies Rewrite Spill-Response Plans

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By Jim Snyder

June 18 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Representative Edward Markey will ask oil-company executives to revamp the spill-response plans lawmakers this week said were duplications and inadequate to deal with an environmental disaster.

Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc were described as being as unprepared as BP Plc to respond to spills during a House Energy Committee hearing on June 15. BP, owner of a Gulf of Mexico well gushing as much as 60,000 barrels of oil a day, and three of the companies listed walruses among species to protect and included ineffective equipment in the response plans submitted to regulators.

“There has to be a complete inspection of every facility in the Gulf, not just BP,” Markey said today in an interview. The executives testified “that they were unprepared to deal with a spill.”

Markey, the chairman of the House Energy Committee’s energy and environment subcommittee, said he planned to write oil company executives as soon as today, demanding they resubmit the plans.

President Barack Obama has declared a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling to let a presidential commission complete its investigation into the Gulf spill, now the largest in U.S. history. The ban suspended operations at 33 drilling rigs operating in the Gulf.

Obama this week was urged by 17 House members from Gulf Coast states including Representatives Joe Barton and Ted Poe, Texas Republicans, to end the ban. “Many offshore drilling companies will not be able to survive” the ban, according to a lawmakers’ statement.

20,000 Jobs

An extended suspension may cost more than 20,000 jobs in the region, the lawmakers said.

Markey endorsed Obama’s “pause” in drilling while a presidential commission investigated the Gulf spill.

“The only thing worse than one oil rig in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, would be two oil rigs in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico,” Markey said. “We have to make sure there are no ticking time bombs.”

The spill-response plans for the five companies were “90 percent identical,” Markey said on June 15 at the start of a hearing with the executives.

“The American people deserve oil safety plans that are ironclad and not boilerplate,” Markey said.

Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson said he was embarrassed the company’s plan included references to walruses, which don’t live in the Gulf.

He also acknowledged oil companies were not “well- equipped” to deal with oil spills.

–With assistance from Jim Efstathiou Jr. and Joe Carroll. Editors: Steve Geimann,

–Editors: Steve Geimann,

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Snyder in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at


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