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.