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Our Energy Future: the View from the Oil Industry

Posted by: John Carey on December 10, 2008

What do oil and gas executives see in their future? In many cases, a switch from oil and gas to alternative forms of energy.

That’s one of the findings from a new survey by Deloitte. “Most notably, “Half of the respondents we interviewed — 53 percent — believe that the U.S. could run out of reasonably priced oil within the next 25 years,” observes Gary Adams, vice chairman for oil and gas at Deloitte LLP.

In addition, three quarters of the executives surveyed thought it’s appropriate for the country to use something other than fossil fuels to power the nation’s cars and trucks. And more than half (56%) thought that providing new fuels was an “appropriate” goal for their companies.

The survey helps to highlight some of the differences that are already visible in the oil industry. Some companies, like Shell, are investing in biofuels, solar, and wind. Others, like ExxonMobil, vow to stick to the oil and gas business.

Reader Comments


December 11, 2008 9:12 AM

It's interesting to see such a large fraction of oil and gas executives agreeing, at least marginally, with the peak oil crew.

One thing to note: it's probably a complementary and compatible set of strategies for some in the industry, like Shell, to shift to other forms of energy, while others, like ExxonMobil, dig deeper into petroleum. As some firms exit the field, that leaves the remaining firms in a good position to have larger slices of the shrinking pie. Even when the pie shrinks to a very small size, so that growing slices don't make up for the losses, ExxonMobil might be right in predicting that aiming for a monopoly in a smaller industry could be a winning proposition, financially speaking. In 30 or 40 years they might end up being a smaller company in terms of number of employees, but that doesn't mean their profits will be down.

David Maskalick

December 13, 2008 2:41 PM

I firmly believe that you can help lead our nation towards new businesses and thereby job creation by encouraging the commercial application of discoveries made by research scientists who work in the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL),, the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency, , and the Renewable Energy, Biomass Program, The citizens of our country could reap a huge ROI or return on the investment that has been made with their tax dollars in these energy programs when the knowledge, discoveries, inventions and developments generated by these government supported organizations are commercialized creating a more sustainable, efficient society in our nation and internationally as well. New leadership will help accelerate this next step toward our own energy self sufficiency, and, provide people internationally the same opportunity for energy self sufficiency, thus creating a new more friendly global economy.

Daniel L. Dickson Sr

January 5, 2009 7:41 PM

Did you know that the grease in all resturants grease traps could be reclaimed and recovered with out having a company come by and suck it out? I have a new technology that can recover the grease from the kitchen's three compartment sink, dishwashing units and the baking ovens. The beauty of this technology is, the resturant can recover 98.7% pure grease catch the food sediment before it gets to the drain line and send the waste water down the line with no grease or food sediment to clog the drain lines and they will never have to pump the grease trap again which is a savings in it's self. And if that isn't enough the resturant can sell the 98.7% pure grease for a profit which can be used for making bio-diesel and other products. I really wish more more resturants and food service prep facilites would get involved with this cutting edge technology.


January 17, 2009 12:24 PM

What about the health and disease implications of such recyclings?

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BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.

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