Blogger Conference Call With Peter Robertson

I just got off the phone on a blogger conference call with Peter Robertson, Vice Chairman of Chevron, hosted by the American Petroleum Institute in anticipation of Mr. Robertson’s testimony before Congress tomorrow. He made quite a number of very interesting points.

First, practically all of the growth in oil consumption is in countries where oil consumption is subsidized, e.g. China, India. Oil consumption in the US is actually going down. Second, our energy future has more than a single aspect. We need to achieve greater efficiencies, make sensible use of renewables, and do more development of domestic oil. I agree with all of those. Third, last year Chevron had profits of $72 billion and investments in renewables, efficiency, and new oil sources of $73 billion. Much of that $73 billion was spent outside the U. S. and the reason that more wasn’t spent in the U. S. was what he referred to as “barriers to investment”—mostly government regulation.

The issue of government regulation is particularly thorny in the U. S. due to multiple overlapping jurisdictions. Not only is the federal government involved but there are state, county, city, and other local governments involved.

A propos of the discussion going on here if a top oil company executive tells me that efficiency and conservation are as or more important for reducing oil prices than developing new sources of oil (and more important in the near term), who am I to disagree?

I’ll post a link to the transcript when it becomes available.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Oil consumption in the US is actually going down

    Which would be consistant with the on-hand reserves… both crude and distalates, being higher than they’ve been in the last 15 years… a point I spent some time with here a couple weeks ago. On it’s face, supply and demand would seem to suggest that a lowering of prices is in order.

    Much of that $73 billion was spent outside the U. S. and the reason that more wasn’t spent in the U. S. was what he referred to as “barriers to investment”—mostly government regulation.

    Which would seem on it’s face to match rather well with the quote I posted.
    Hmmmm….

    As for;

    A propos of the discussion going on here if a top oil company executive tells me that efficiency and conservation are as or more important for reducing oil prices than developing new sources of oil (and more important in the near term), who am I to disagree?

    One wonders if he’s not mouthing this beacuse of the regulatory realities, both current and near future, given the prospects of the democrats in the next cycle. If he’s not making noises about conservation, after all, he and his company will be roasted at congressional hearings,a nd subject to yet further regulation.

  2. Michael says:

    One wonders if he’s not mouthing this beacuse of the regulatory realities, both current and near future, given the prospects of the democrats in the next cycle. If he’s not making noises about conservation, after all, he and his company will be roasted at congressional hearings,a nd subject to yet further regulation.

    They’re putting real money behind those initiatives, so I think it’s more than just talk. These guys don’t want to be in the horse and buggy industry, so when they see the market shifting from fossil fuels to a mixture of renewables, they’re going to make sure they’re positioned to make money in that market. They didn’t make $72 billion by being short-sighted.

  3. Bithead says:

    They didn’t make $72 billion by being short-sighted.

    Indeed, And about that, thee oil companies seem under two nthreats… the realities of oil and the reality of government.

    Of the two, particularly given what taxes are taken from oil, government seems even to this outsider, the bigger threat.

  4. Michael says:

    Of the two, particularly given what taxes are taken from oil, government seems even to this outsider, the bigger threat.

    But the government they can do something about, oil will pretty much remain the same.

  5. steveplunk says:

    It’s a hundred 1% solutions, not a single silver bullet that will save us. Drilling, more refineries, alternative liquid fuels, nuclear, wind, solar, conservation, new technologies, things we can’t even imagine yet.

    Start with the things that will yield immediate results and work our way out from there. Our strategy has to be both long term and short term in nature. Throw out the climate change nonsense and get serious.

    What frustrates me more than anything is the total lack of attention (other than made for TV hearings) from congress and, yes, the President. Nobody inside that damn beltway seems to give a crap about what this is doing to our economy and the American people.

    For gosh sakes I’m not that smart but I could do better than all the brainiacs on the hill.

  6. Bithead says:

    But the government they can do something about, oil will pretty much remain the same.

    How? Buying them off?
    Or simply placating them, as I suspect they are now?

    You talk about serious money being invested in these alternatives, yet you don’t mention what governmental retribution will cost them if they don’t. They’re simply taking the cheaper route.

  7. Michael says:

    You talk about serious money being invested in these alternatives, yet you don’t mention what governmental retribution will cost them if they don’t. They’re simply taking the cheaper route.

    Market forces at work 🙂

  8. Michael says:

    Start with the things that will yield immediate results and work our way out from there.

    Only conservation can produce immediate results, everything else requires the establishment of new infrastructures and processes.

    Our strategy has to be both long term and short term in nature.

    I agree, and we need multiple levels of each. Shortest term we need conservation, near term we need more efficient fossil fuel production, long term we need renewable sources, longest term we need nuclear, especially fusion.

    Throw out the climate change nonsense and get serious.

    Only if it isn’t nonsense, then it is a very real concern that needs to be dealt with when discussing the cost of our energy sources.