Although two years have passed since the BP oil spill, companies in the sector continue to realize environmental concerns and negative PR can be tough on the bottom line.
It’s this notion has led companies like Shell (RDSA), which is moving forward with Arctic Circle drilling, to get aggressive with potential environmental issues that may arise with their new project.
National Public Radio recently reported that the company will begin training hundreds of spill clean-up workers in the event of a mishap on par with the events in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
That event only heightened the concerns of citizens and environmentalists as far as Arctic Circle drilling goes. The sensitivity in the region has never really waned following the Exxon Valdez tanker spill in 1989.
In general, oil companies are moving forward slowly with similar new drilling projects due to the accidents of the past, according to the Associated Press, while environmental groups assert that these firms are significantly overstating their ability to deal with any potential disasters.
Despite the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement signing off on a plan from the company in February, environmental advocates are skeptical and note that significant damage could occur.
While these advocates continue their push, according to the news outlet, Shell and other firms are going to continue investing in oil wells. The company has spent more than $4 billion to further the offshore Arctic development, and it is projected to recover 26.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
However, the Houston Chronicle reported that other oil companies may begin to mirror the approach taken by Shell, which worked to get the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to sign off on its plan. Other companies may find similar value in how the company maneuvered in a way that pitted the environmentalists against the federal agencies that issued permits and approved the company’s oil spill response plans, the newspaper said.
Will oil companies gain more of a positive image through the adoption of safer practices?