Oil Exec: Renewables Aren't the Answer

June 16, 2009
ConocoPhillips CEO says fossil fuels are here to stay.

The chief executive for the third-largest oil producer in the United States said on June 16 that alternative energy sources alone cannot solve the world's supply issues.

"We can double, triple all the forms of alternative energies in wind and solar and hydro, and even with doubling and tripling in a relatively short period of time, we're still going to be on fossil fuels," said James Mulva, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips at the National Summit in Detroit.

Mulva said it could take decades, maybe even a century, to replace the oil and gas industry with alternative energies. He referred to unexplored oil and gas in the United States as the country's "inconvenient secret."

He criticized the federal government for telling the nation to lessen its dependence on foreign oil while preventing efforts to explore domestically. He also said the government should let the market decide energy sources rather than picking "winning technologies."

"I don't think our policymakers really understand the dynamics of the energy challenge that we face," he said.

He said the oil industry as a whole needs to do a better job of communicating the long-term need for fossil fuels.

"Our industry has not done a good job of stating its case over a number of decades but it's absolutely important at this time that we get in and talk about the importance of fossil fuels," said Mulva.

About the Author

Jonathan Katz | Former Managing Editor

Former Managing Editor Jon Katz covered leadership and strategy, tackling subjects such as lean manufacturing leadership, strategy development and deployment, corporate culture, corporate social responsibility, and growth strategies. As well, he provided news and analysis of successful companies in the chemical and energy industries, including oil and gas, renewable and alternative.

Jon worked as an intern for IndustryWeek before serving as a reporter for The Morning Journal and then as an associate editor for Penton Media’s Supply Chain Technology News.

Jon received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Kent State University and is a die-hard Cleveland sports fan.

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