Oil Industry Safety Standards Rigorous -Exxon Executive

KUALA LAMPUR (Dow Jones Newswires), June 7, 2010

Most companies engaging in oil exploration and production have rigorous safety systems in place to cope with complex challenges and governments shouldn't be too hasty to adopt new regulations or legislation in the aftermath of BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Andrew Swiger, a senior vice president for Exxon Mobil, said Monday.

"We need to guard against premature, reactive change to regulation and legislation," Swiger told a news conference. "We shouldn't jump to conclusions and introduce regulation without fully understanding what happened."

Government officials should allow the investigation into what caused the spill to be completed, then have a pragmatic discussion of what may or may not need to change, he said.

Since the oil spill began in late April, Exxon Mobil has provided technical assistance, specialists and equipment to aid BP's cleanup and containment efforts, he said.

Earlier, Swiger tried to dispel the notion that the E&P industry's environmental standards are inadequate while addressing the 15th Asia Oil & Gas Conference: "The reality is that our industry has consistently improved environmental performance while working in increasingly challenging locations...Some claim the era of easy oil is over. In fact, it never really began," he said. "Our oil industry has only made it look easy over decades."

As demand for petroleum increases, producers have had to continually exploit previously untapped sources, he said.

Global energy demand is expected to increase by more than 35% by 2040 compared with 2005, led by growing demand from developing countries from regions such as Asia, he said, noting that between 2005 and 2030, energy demand in non-OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries is expected to grow by 65%, while growth in the OECD will remain essentially flat.

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