Welcome to ExxonMobil Perspectives

Ken Cohen

I’m Ken Cohen, ExxonMobil’s vice president of public and government affairs.  I’d like to welcome you to ExxonMobil’s new blog, Perspectives.

We’ve been planning this blog for some time as a means of helping to encourage dialogue on the world’s energy challenges, and the policies and technologies that can best meet them.

There’s no better time for it than now.

Understandably, people have questions, comments and concerns about the tragic events unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. So do we. That’s why we’re making this our primary focus as we start this discussion.

I hope you will join the conversation, and I look forward to your views.


21 Comments

Already have a username? Log in to comment. First-time commenting? Sign up to create your username. It's easy, and we won't share your information.

  1. Marcia Reynolds says:

    Could Exxon assist in gulf spill by bringing in big tankers to help suck up the oil? This has been suggested by former CEO of Shell–Is it feasible? and is there any hope of this happening?

  2. Jai Rao says:

    In these times of dire circumstances, why can’t Exxon roll up its sleeves and help thy neighbor? We don’t know, nor would we for a while, if this is a freak incident or one that was caused due to negligence. Regardless, as an Exxon shareholder, I would be proud if Exxon can go all out to extend its help, for the sake of our environment.

    • Ken Cohen says:

      We’ve made teams of our technical experts available to BP and the unified command. Immediately after the incident, we offered the use of a drilling rig as a staging base, two supply vessels, an underwater vehicle and support vessel. We’re also supporting the work of spill response and cleanup cooperatives by providing personnel and equipment.

  3. Ladd Smith says:

    Thank you Mr. Cohen for opening this dialogue. Obviously these wells are very complex, and beyond most lay readers understanding. Nevertheless, it might be instructional to post some diagrams about how these wells are constructed, and maybe we can understand “centralizers”, “cement bond logs” and “steel liners with tiebacks”. In the spirit of education, it would be most appreciated, I am sure.

  4. Duane sherman says:

    Looking in the future and seeing how demand for hydrocarbons will only increase as other countries consume more causing world peak oil to hit in our lifetimes (some of us). How are you planning on dealing with our future energy needs ? Do you see some type of R&D in a new energy source ? I do care about the environment, but I understand hydrocarbons is what we need at this point in time and it is scary to think our generation will see a revert in civilization.. What is your take or what ideas might you have?

    • Ken Cohen says:

      Looking to the future, we see that a diverse range of energy supplies is going to play a major role in meeting growing needs. For example, the growth of natural gas supplies, especially shale and tight gas resources here in the United States, will be able to help meet growing electricity demand. In our Energy Outlook, we also see wind energy growing steadily, along with other renewables. But really, the biggest “source” of energy in the future will be efficiency. We expect that gains in energy efficiency through 2030 will reduce global energy demand growth by about 65 percent. We’re working on vehicle technologies that promote efficiency, such as a tire-lining technology that can help reduce fuel consumption by keeping tires properly inflated; advanced lightweight plastics for car parts such as bumpers and fuel tanks; and lower viscosity motor oils that can improve fuel economy by up to 2 percent. If just a third of U.S. vehicles used technologies such as these, it would save about 5 billion gallons of gasoline and greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking about 8 million cars off the road. That said, we are also working on researching biofuels from algae that could someday help meet the world’s growing transportation fuel needs.

  5. George Bloton says:

    I would like to ask if ExxonMobil believes as other countries require that a relief well be dug before a new deepwater well is brought online. This should be a good safety requirement and yes it’s expensive but not nearly as expensive as having a blowout such as the Gulf disaster.

  6. Rene Norton says:

    Stings a bit Exxon throwing stones, then again I guess the best learned lessons are “I’ll never do that again!!!” I want them to come up with incentives that make the industry police itself (in addition to gov reg) A risk pool perhaps that safe companies could also be injured if a rogue company operates unsafely.. An internal industry survelliance of each other,

  7. Garry Denke says:

    M-I Swaco mud engineers discussed this in April, and May. Papa Bear said, the more they circulated, the worse the mud got. The defoamers (“pills”) had quit working. What they are hiding is that fact. M-I Swaco engineers (Papa Bear, et al) and BP engineers (Exxon link, et al) wanted to chuck the mud, days before the blowout. When mud goes bad, restoring the five (5) colloid forces, regardless of circulation time, bottoms-up or not, is impossible. Bad mud just gets worse, and once bad, gas permeates through it like water. That’s why they reduced the circulating time. That’s what they are hiding. And that’s why gas raced up the annulus to the pack-off.

    They did test the mud. And the mud was bad. They did try to fix it. But they could not. And that’s why no one discusses the mud, its measurements not released. Amazing, a whole boat (Damon B. Bankston) full of mud samples from the Macondo well, and no measurements other than weight and viscosity published. Why is that T-Rex, ExxonMobil? Are there no engineers in the US qualified to analyze the evidence? So in short, the “well design”, the “centralizers”, the “bond log”, the “lockdown sleeve”, the “blowout preventer”, etc, none of them caused Macondo’s blowout. Solely, it was the bad mud. BP plc Macondo’s frothy gas-cut mud settles every lawsuit.

  8. carol costello says:

    Hi,
    What specifically is Exxon doing to ensure the safety of its workers? Has it reviewed procedures on its platforms? Has it turned over documents to regulators that prove Exxon can handle a spill like BP’s? And how would Exxon cap the leaking BP well?

    • Nicole M says:

      While giving specifics is difficult since I do not work on a rig, I can attest to the fact that XOM has more safety programs in place than you can begin to imagine. If fact, most of the oil industry does. This catastrophe is not a result of lacking safety standards, it is a result of BP not following these standards.

  9. Isaiah Motz says:

    There is a much more effective punishment that would also clean up the oil. Make BP pay $3/gal for crude that people collect. There would be a gold rush along the coast…some new millionaries…and the crude would be gone in a few weeks.

  10. Steve Mulkey says:

    After the riser and dril pipe were sheared, why not remove the weld neck flange on top of the BOP then replace with a pipe spool and valve? Thus allowing a riser to be connected to recover the oil or shut off the oil flow with the valve ?

  11. Troy Lane says:

    So, can we assume BP clean up their oil spill like exxon should have?

  12. j rielly says:

    Exxon getting involved would be a liability they wouldn’t want to assume for some PR. I just hope this blog keeps perspective on exxon valdez. Also a disaster negligent in how it how occurred and negligent in how it was cleaned up.

  13. Brian Sattler says:

    We at Lamar University join in commending ExxonMobil for creating Perspectives to encourage dialogue on the world’s energy challenges and associated issues. For those knowledgeable of all sources of energy and the ultimate impact on sustainable economic survival we are in total agreement with your conclusion that offshore and deep-water resources are essential to U.S. energy security.

    We also concur with your assessment of the process for effective safety in the implementation not only in managing offshore wells but all other technological processes. However, we know that errors in judgment can plague those who are challenging the boundaries of technology and we deeply sympathize with the pain and suffering of all the families and individuals impacted by the latest tragedy.

    Lamar University’s College of Engineering, through its advisory council, has proposed a new Ph.D. in Energy Engineering to address these same energy issues. Our Ph.D. program is based on a multidisciplinary program that will educate energy leaders, innovators and decision makers to create and provide knowledge leading to sustainable energy systems.

    Our program is based on the concept that the U.S. faces a three-fold energy challenge: 1) Energy Independence, 2) Environmental Sustainability, and 3) Economic Opportunity. The research areas in the program encompass the following broad initiatives: energy efficiency and renewable energy; materials and manufacturing in energy applications; power engineering, computing and network systems; environmental modeling and energy infrastructure; and energy systems.

  14. Geary Sikich says:

    Will BP’s catastrophe in the gulf be the defining moment for oil industry executives?

    The BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe casts a shadow reflecting on all oil company CEO’s and senior executives, not just BP’s Tony Hayward. While CEO Tony Hayward and COO Doug Suttles will suffer the brunt of criticism and most probably dismissal by the Board of Directors or being forced to resign; oil company executives and board members should see this as a wake up call for the industry.

    The inevitable backlash of well meaning, but potentially ill conceived, regulations that will follow in the aftermath of the BP catastrophe will surely overshadow the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) enacted in the wake of the Exxon Valdez spill. The regulatory surge that we are seeing now, in the wake of the financial crisis, for example will easily surpass Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) enacted after the Enron fiasco. From a regulatory standpoint, however, the regulators are constantly in a reactive mode; creating regulations after the fact, that have either no “teeth,” or that fail to get implemented properly, or that over time are essentially dismissed.

    For a complete copy of my article please feel free to write to me at: g.sikich@att.net

  15. Kenneth McAfee says:

    The BP dividend represents about 1/7th of the total dividend yield on the UK stock market, FTSE, and the people owning that stock (our allies in the UK) are mostly retired school and government workers. Our country should encourage business through working to solve the problem rather than pointing at a villain. Last night I saw a commercial from BP where they told people where to go to file a claim. It isn’t as if they are shirking their responsibility. We all know it is a disaster. Let’s work together to solve the problem and get down the road.

  16. Marcia Reynolds says:

    Thank you for your reply. You mentioned that Exxon has “offered” heavy equipment to the cleanup effort. Is this equipment being used effectively by the unified command?

  17. SD Freeman says:

    There are no words to describe the sadness for the lives lost. The economic issue is resolvable and the ecological issues will, with our
    help, be resolved by nature. Many thousands of tons of oil washed up
    on our beaches during World War II especially on the East and Gulf
    Coasts and we survived it. Let the experts analyze the mistakes and
    propose sound corrective measures. Am not a blogger, but believe
    Ken’s blog with the power of XOM can grow into a useful tool for helping
    to make use of our tremendous energy potential . Let’s talk about
    energy!!

  18. Marcia Reynolds says:

    Could Exxon assist in gulf spill by bringing in big tankers to help suck up the oil? This has been suggested by former CEO of Shell–Is it feasible? and is there any hope of this happening?

  19. Jai Rao says:

    In these times of dire circumstances, why can’t Exxon roll up its sleeves and help thy neighbor? We don’t know, nor would we for a while, if this is a freak incident or one that was caused due to negligence. Regardless, as an Exxon shareholder, I would be proud if Exxon can go all out to extend its help, for the sake of our environment.

    • Ken Cohen says:

      We’ve made teams of our technical experts available to BP and the unified command. Immediately after the incident, we offered the use of a drilling rig as a staging base, two supply vessels, an underwater vehicle and support vessel. We’re also supporting the work of spill response and cleanup cooperatives by providing personnel and equipment.

  20. Ladd Smith says:

    Thank you Mr. Cohen for opening this dialogue. Obviously these wells are very complex, and beyond most lay readers understanding. Nevertheless, it might be instructional to post some diagrams about how these wells are constructed, and maybe we can understand “centralizers”, “cement bond logs” and “steel liners with tiebacks”. In the spirit of education, it would be most appreciated, I am sure.