Photo via VNF
While you might roll your eyes after hearing such a statement from the world's biggest oil company--much like you did after the similar forecast given by the oil exporters in Saudi Arabia--it's worth taking note of the company's stubborn outlook. And their announcement comes right on the heels of a report on how other oil giants are getting into the biofuels game in a big way. But no, Exxon seems determined to cling to oil even in the face of what could (and should) be a clean energy revolution.From Bloomberg:
Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest refiner, said the transition away from oil-derived fuels is probably 100 years away.
Now hold on a second; just wait before you roll your eyes . . .
Petroleum-based fuels including gasoline and diesel, as well as hydrocarbons such as coal and natural gas, will remain the dominant sources of energy for factories, offices, homes and cars for decades because there are no viable alternatives, Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson told reporters today after Exxon Mobil's annual shareholders meeting in Dallas.
Now you can roll your eyes. It's that 'no viable alternatives' bit that's exasperating. No one has any illusions about oil and coal remaining 'dominant energy sources' for the near future, but issuing a 100 year forecast is borderline absurd. Even the Saudis, who live on the richest oil reserve in the world, weren't that bold. It's going to take a major set of circumstances to get the company to change course--and I mean major, because the prospect of peak oil doesn't seem to be doing much.
And it may be that there are 'no viable alternative' that would net oil companies the whopping $650 billion they did over the last eight years. But they're not going to get those returns from oil--at least not in the American markets--much longer in coming years, either.
And what about climate change?
Tillerson, a University of Texas-trained engineer, said climate change is a "serious risk-management issue" for Exxon Mobil. The company will continue to fund scientific research into climate science and the impact of greenhouse gases on the atmosphere, he said.
"We're going to be very forthright in not accepting something that is not completely scientifically proven," Tillerson said. "We're not skeptics. We're just approaching this the way we would approach any scientific challenge."
Oh good. Those scientists they fund will probably discover that climate change is a threat after all, and they'll probably immediately start looking for real 'viable alternatives'!
To use the parlance of the 90s--Not.
Well, at least the wealthy, backwards-looking company at least has the gall to come out and say forthright that they plan on being a wealthy, backwards-looking company as long as they live. That's got to count for something, right?