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Another oil CEO spreads the PR

Jan. 31, 2007, 11:30PM Another oil CEO spreads the word
By KRISTEN HAYS Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

Shell Oil Co. CEO John Hofmeister isn't the only Big Oil chief traveling the country on an ambitious speaking tour about energy issues.
ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva is getting in the game, too. He has begun a 35-city "educational advocacy" tour featuring town hall meetings and community events aimed at making himself and technology experts at ConocoPhillips available to discuss energy demand and industry efforts to meet it.
Hofmeister launched a 50-city tour last year.
Both say the oil industry has been too silent about how its business works, particularly with heightened scrutiny from Congress and the public, stemming from volatile oil prices and rising energy demand.
Mulva's first stop was in Reno, Nev., two weeks ago. After giving a luncheon speech to energy executives in Houston on Wednesday sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, he was off to Edwardsville, Ill.
The last stop will be Tulsa, Okla., in mid-November.
"We need to tell our story more," Mulva said during his speech Wednesday.
Exxon Mobil Corp. chief Rex Tillerson also has spread the industry's message in a few recent speeches, notably calling for boosting auto-fuel efficiency and cutting coal-plant emissions to reduce greenhouse gases.
Mulva said Wednesday that the U.S. needs efficient energy in all forms — oil, gas, ethanol, wind, solar, nuclear and coal. But he said market forces and consumer preferences should determine standards.
In his State of the Union address last week, President Bush promoted ethanol as a key driver in reducing gasoline consumption by 20 percent in the next decade. Bush proposed replacing a portion of the amount of gasoline Americans are expected to consume by 2017 with 35 billion gallons of ethanol and other alternative fuels.
Congress has already mandated that the country's fuel supply contain at least 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol by 2012.
"We support the goal of improving energy efficiency," Mulva said Wednesday. "But market forces and consumer preferences — not federal mandates — are the best way to meet these goals."
He also said true energy security comes from diversity rather than independence, particularly when state-controlled oil companies in foreign countries control so much access to resources.
And diversity means increasing the ability of oil companies to extract oil from diverse sources — such as sand, rock and ultra-deep water off America's coastlines — as well as alternatives and renewables, Mulva said.
"Energy independence, while it sounds nice, is probably unrealistic," he said.

Posted Date: 
1 February 2007 - 10:23am