Energy strategy session focuses on efficiency, conservation

Big Oil isn’t afraid of regulation. It just wants it to be streamlined and doesn’t want to serve a bunch of different masters with different agendas.

That was the assessment of a Shell executive at a energy strategy panel discussion Wednesday night at Houston’s Hobby Center, where a special screening of director Gregory Kallenberg’s “Rational Middle Energy Series” was shown to industry officials, academics and geologists.

Panelists discussed U.S. energy policy, fuel efficiency, conservation and ideas for how to deal with the energy demands of tomorrow in the face of expected population growth.

“The way we look at this as an energy company is it’s an all-of-the-above strategy,” said Russ Ford, executive vice president of onshore gas for Shell Upstream Americas. “We believe we are going to need everything to meet the scope of what is before us.”

He said U.S. energy policy, particularly regulation, needs to be grounded in those ideas.

“I think we can meet the demands of tomorrow with the resources we have available today,” Ford said.

Another panelist, Rice University’s Ken Medlock, said energy conservation is a tough sell for the American public when many people love to turn on every light in the house when they wake up in the morning. He said price will be the true wake-up call — the more we spend the more apt we will be to turn off those lights when we aren’t using them.

“We are creatures of habit,” said Medlock, senior director of the Center for Energy Studies at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. “We are going to do what we are going to do.”