Tags: Exxon | Fracking | Rules | Development

Exxon CEO: More Fracking Rules Hinder Development

Friday, 09 March 2012 02:57 PM

State and local regulations in shale oil- and natural gas-rich plays across the United States provides sufficient oversight while adding "dysfunctional" federal layers hinders development as well as the economic recovery, Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said on Friday.

Tillerson, addressing an audience of energy executives at the annual CERAWeek conference in Houston, said layers, complex regulatory processes in oil and gas development "has become an obstacle to getting anything done."

"This type of dysfunctional regulation is holding back the American economic recovery, growth, and global competitiveness," he said.

Tillerson said state and local governments with a close-up view of needed protections sufficiently oversee oil and gas activity while collaborating with producers.

"They provide us the roadmap with how to get something done," Tillerson said. "Today the regulatory process is now so complicated and so involved with so many different agencies, it's a roadmap of how to not get anything done."

CEOs of other two European major oil and gas producers appeared more conciliatory about regulations when they addressed executives at the conference earlier this week, but they didn't overtly differentiate state and local regulations from federal oversight.

Peter Voser, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell said the industry can handle environmental and operational challenges of tight and shale gas production, particularly when governed by "well-targeted and robustly enforced regulations."

And Helge Lund, CEO of Norway's Statoil, said public trust and confidence in the industry's ability to maintain safe operations is crucial.

"There is a huge upside for working to ensure we have the right regulations, rather than being perceived as the industry that fights regulations," Lund said.

Tillerson cited as an "unfortunate decision" President Barack Obama's rejection of a federal permit to allow TransCanada to build its proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas to transport Canadian oil to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

Environmental groups and some states had opposed the pipeline on integrity concerns and whether it would increase U.S. dependence on emissions-heavy Canadian oil production.

Tillerson called the rejection "a product of political calculations in Washington."

He also said that the industry learns from mistakes, such as the 2010 blowout of a BP Plc deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico that spewed more than 4 million barrels of crude into the basin.

Eleven people were killed in the April 2010 explosion aboard Transocean Ltd.'s Deepwater Horizon rig.

BP has taken a $37.2 billion charge against earnings for spill-related costs, and its total bill could surpass $65 billion if a judge overseeing spill-related federal litigation finds the company to be grossly negligent.

"It reminded all of us that the failure to manage risk effectively carries enormous consequences, in terms of loss of life, significant financial impact, and environmental harm," Tillerson said.

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Friday, 09 March 2012 02:57 PM
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