BP chief defends new exploration deal
The head of British oil giant BP said Wednesday the Gulf of Mexico disaster had "shaken us to the core," but defended oil exploration, including a new mega-deal with Russia's Rosneft.
"What happened in the Gulf of Mexico has shaken us to the core," Robert Dudley, BP chief executive told AFP, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
"We've learnt a lot in terms of civil response and people see that, governments see that.
"If there's any company that is going to learn and change and respond and understand their great responsibility in moving ahead with exploration, it's certainly BP," he added, after signing a deal Russia's state-run Rosneft.
BP inked a first agreement with Rosneft in mid-January to explore and develop the latter's three licensed blocks on the Russian Arctic continental shelf -- 125,000 square kilometres -- said to contain five billion tonnes of oil and 3,000 billion cubic metres of gas.
They will also set up an Arctic technology centre to focus on safety, the environment and emergency procedures.
In Davos, both parties inked a further deal to increase cooperation, including plans for joint projects in third-party markets.
Asked about environmental concerns given the Gulf of Mexico disaster, Dudley insisted further exploration was inevitable, as he pointed to forecasts that the world will need some forty percent more energy by 2030.
"If you look at energy projection figures mentioned earlier... the world will need all kinds of energy, oil, coal, nuclear and renewables. It's inevitable that frontier areas of the world will be developed.
"That's an inevitabilty. We just have to do it safely and reliably."
Dudley insisted the firm would take "great, great care" in future explorations. He began his job on October 1, after predecessor Tony Hayward was forced out over his widely-criticised handling of the oil spill disaster.
The April 20 explosion in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 people and unleashed 4.9 million barrels of oil in the worst-ever maritime spill.
BP has already spent $8 billion (six billion euros) trying to contain the disaster and has forecast that it will eventually cost the group more than $32.2 billion.
Rosneft chairman Igor sechin said in Davos that the Russian partner it willing to allow BP to enter its board of directors in exchange for seats on the British oil giant's board.
"We have not discussed this issue yet but if it is raised, the proposal will merit a discussion," Interfax quoted Rosneft board chairman Sechin as saying on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.
"On the whole, we have nothing against a potential mutual entry into each other's board of directors," Sechin said.
© 2011 AFP