MIDLAND, Texas—Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s incoming U.S. president, Gretchen Watkins, came to the Hart Energy’s Executive Oil Conference offering a competing idea to competition itself: collaboration.

While competition will always drive the Permian’s performance, working together can also raise standards and improve safety in the basin, Watkins said.

Early coalitions among Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) and independents have already started to improve roads safety, where a fatality occurs every 29 hours, said Watkins, who is also executive vice president of Shell’s upstream unconventionals.

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