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What Has BP plc (ADR) (BP)’s Disaster Taught Us?

Further, your safer bet is to find a company that has operations that span the globe, or at least operates in more than one resource basin. This shields the overall operations, so it’s not at risk if another drilling moratorium was enacted on the Gulf or anywhere else within its portfolio. The risk of not being diversified, both in your portfolio and in the business models of the companies you’ve invested in, again cannot be understated.

The final thought that cannot be understated is that of a focus on safety within operations. While I have no doubt that energy companies emphasized safety and risk management before the Gulf disaster, it’s now at the forefront of the discussion today. The first key message at Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)‘s recent investor day was that “risk management is fundamental to our business.” The company’s vision is that “Nobody Gets Hurt,” while it also remains environmentally conscious in stating that its goal is to “Protect Tomorrow. Today.” This theme runs throughout the industry, and its one that’s taken seriously. Just listen in on any investor presentation, and the company will detail the emergency evacuation route at that venue. Today, energy companies live and breathe safety and preparedness, and we have the BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) disaster to, dare I say, thank for that.

The BP disaster, as terrible as it was, turned into a very important wakeup call for the industry and to investors. We learned that risk is much greater than ever anticipated. We learned that “safety first” needed to be more than a motto. Finally, we learned that, no matter how bad things appear at the time, we’re very resilient and recover quickly, as evidenced by the fact that drilling in the Gulf is currently experiencing tremendous growth.

We’ve made the best of that terrible event in the hopes that it will never happen again. We’ve learned several important lessons, and we’re now more prepared than ever to best mitigate some of the major risks of another spill. While the cost of doing business is one of great risk, we’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that we never have to pay such a high price again.

The article 3 Years Later: What BP’s Disaster Has Taught America? originally appeared on and is written by Matt DiLallo.

Fool contributor Matt DiLallo owns shares of ConocoPhillips. The Motley Fool owns shares of Transocean.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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