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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Steep Climb for Oil Industry Image

While the executives of Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell, and ConocoPhillips testifying in Washington Tuesday tried to paint themselves as more responsible and less at risk than BP, the unfortunate reality is that the oil and gas industry is likely in this one together for the long-term.

While Americans blame BP and federal agencies that regulate oil drilling for the spill, the oil industry's collective image will no doubt suffer as a result.

Here's a reminder of just how large a hill they will have to climb together. You'll have to scroll to the bottom to see the oil and gas industry on this list of industry image ratings -- because it's dead last. The federal government -- of course also a key player in this disaster now and going forward -- is third to last. It's not exactly a vote of confidence from the American people.

These bottom of the barrel ratings from 2009 easily precede this historic accident and President Obama's own acknowledgment that "oil companies showered regulators with gifts and favors, and were essentially allowed to conduct their own safety inspections and write their own regulations."

We'll update these industry image ratings as part of our annual Work and Education poll in August. The questions now -- how far will the oil and gas industry fall? And what can it do to regain the trust of the American people? Will new watchdog efforts help? And how long will it take?

Be sure to get our annual update on industry ratings by signing up for our business e-mail alerts and RSS feeds.

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