CERAWeek: ConocoPhillips' Mulva on Venezuela et al

Unlike Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips is trying to go through arbitration with PDVSA regarding the assets the Venezuelan government has nationalized in that country.
Some highlights from CEO Jim Mulva’s speech (based on the script provided by the company — he really didn’t start riffing on other stuff):

But now, there is another crucial debate raging — how to reduce the human-caused greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. The outcome has the potential to change the nature of our industry — and affect all that we do as energy producers. Because of this, we no longer have the luxury of standing on the sideline.

The facts are these:
? First, scientific consensus is growing that carbon emissions from fossil fuels play a role in climate change.
? Equally important, media coverage has hardened public perceptions. Calls for action are gaining force.
? And finally, new regulations to reduce emissions are being enacted in a number of countries — including the U.S. at state levels.
U.S. federal legislation may be just a year or two away. So the train is leaving the station without the industry onboard. Why should we care? Because we have a responsibility to provide sustainable energy — and rising concerns over climate change are likely to seriously constrain our ability to do so.


Another reason for engagement is that the energy industry should be part of the solution.
? We have the best understanding of the energy supply chain.
? Our knowledge of fuels can help in research to reduce their carbon intensity.
? We can offer technical insight and economic realism to the policies that come from government.
? In addition, climate change and energy security are complex global issues. We operate in the global economy every day, which gives us real-world expertise.
? And finally, we have the skills to make carbon capture and storage a reality.
Like expertise in sub-surface geology; gas compression, liquefaction and injection; using CO2 in enhanced oil recovery; pipeline construction; drilling and so on.

In short, we can help drive this emerging technology. Now, consider what would happen if we do not engage.
First, we would lose the option of influencing policy, and our concerns would be marginalized. The end result could be flawed policies that cost too much — that erode energy security — and that jeopardize the health of both the economy and the environment. We would also risk even greater alienation from the public — something that has cost the industry dearly in recent years.


Climate change can not be successfully addressed by itself. Otherwise, energy shortages would result and lead to demands for more development — defeating the original goal of reducing emissions. Similarly, energy security can not be successfully addressed alone. That would lead to increased carbon emissions and rising climate concerns — defeating the original goal of increasing production.

We must address both together — and neither will be easy.
? We need bridging strategies — such as expanding the role of natural gas.
? We need new technologies to produce energy and capture carbon.
? We need greater access to both conventional and unconventional resources.
? We need more refining capacity.
? And we need to realistically educate the public on a simple fact — that it will take many years to develop alternative sources at the scale required for sustainable economics.