First, we had Shell boss Peter Voser attacking BP over oil well safety, saying: 'Shell would have drilled this well in a different way and would have had more options to prevent the accident.'
Now Chevron is hedging its bets and taking a more cautious approach. Richard Cohagan, managing director of Chevron UK, admitted its new deepwater drilling campaign off the Shetland Islands could cause an oil spill of greater magnitude than BP's Gulf of Mexico disaster.
However, Chevron's ability to learn from BP's mistakes will be measured by the company's crisis preparation. To maintain brand reputation and trust with customers, it is important that everyone is pulling in the right direction.
A comms team that knows the company and potential industry issues can ensure that accurate and timely information is given to senior management so that correct decisions can be made when a crisis occurs.
Chevron's advertisements tend to be very caring and sharing and this line from its UK chief would seem to fit this approach. Whether it amounts to any more than spin over substance is another matter.
Jim Preen, media consultant, Crisis Solutions
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