Bob Dudley, BP’s chief executive, is set to announce a resumption of dividend payments tomorrow as a signal to investors that the oil giant is back on track, after last year’s Deepwater disaster.
The reinstatement is key for Dudley to show investor confidence before his inaugural presentation to the City alongside BP’s full-year results.
So its also back to business as usual with safety, where the industry argues that self-regulation is better than federal regulation.
Earlier this month we highlighted how the official Presidential Commission into the Deepwater report had highlighted how the American Petroleum Institute was “compromised” over its dual role as a safety standard setter at the same time as being a lobby group for the industry.
Just to recap this what the report said:
“Based on this Commission’s multiple meetings and discussions with leading members of the oil and gas industry, however, it is clear that API’s ability to serve as a reliable standard-setter for drilling safety is compromised by its role as the industry’s principal lobbyist and public policy advocate.”
Despite these fundamental and worrying concerns, the industry is pushing ahead with its plans to set up its own safety organisation, which the industry wants to be part of the API.
The new body could be set up within weeks.
Despite the Deepwater accident and the glaring regulatory and safety flaws it so tragically exposed, the industry is arguing that it can again be trusted with safety standards.
A working party of executives and advisers has been working on a model based on how the nuclear industry reacted to the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. It is chaired by a senior manager from Royal Dutch Shell.
Erik Milito, the API’s director with responsibility for oil production, said “We have been doing this since 1924, and we have expertise here. So it would make sense that this should be done by the API.”
No Erik, it would make no sense at all for the fox to be able to look after the hen house.
Not everyone is happy with the current plans.
William Reilly, one of the co-chairmen of the Commission and former head of the EPA, tells this morning’s Financial Times: “The new safety body has to be a different institution with a different staff, a different name and a different physical location from the API.”
And this time “different” really should mean “different”.