Chevron chief talks about what is needed for energy renaissance

Houston Chronicle:

The United States is poised for an energy “renaissance” that could create thousands of jobs and lessen the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, yet it will only be achieved with federal policies that expand access to domestic oil and gas resources and reduce the regulatory burden on producers, Chevron CEO John Watson said in a speech today in Houston.

Without such a framework, the nation’s second-largest oil company may also be hesitant to boost investments, hiring and production much beyond current levels, he said, in a veiled threat to Washington.

“Even the best of energy companies can perform only as well as the legal and regulatory environment allows,” he said, at a luncheon event downtown hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership, according to an advanced transcript of the speech.

He noted that of the $26 billion Chevron will spend globally this year, $7 billion will go to projects in the U.S.

“We could achieve great things if America had a rational, robust and comprehensive energy policy,” he said, but argued that often contradictory federal energy policies are moving the nation in the opposite direction.

For instance, by keeping large portions of the U.S. coastline off limits to offshore drilling, lawmakers are reducing U.S. energy security, even as they stress the need to increase it, he said. And while regulators have resumed issuing permits to drill in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico following last year’s BP oil spill and recently announced a new round of lease sales, exploration and production remains “far short of where we should be,” Watson said.

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He also talked about Texas's more rational energy policy and how it has lifted the state's economy. Opening up other areas of the country could go a long way toward providing energy security. It would get us a lot further than any "green energy" models will. I am glad to see that leaders of energy businesses are on the same page with this blog when it comes to developing our resources.

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