ConocoPhillips chair mocks clean energy advocates as “hydrocarbon deniers”

CEO of Saudi Aramco worries about “a bottleneck” in oil production. Seriously! prices and profits are on the rise again.  The anti-science disinformation campaign funded in large part by Big Oil is having unimaginable success.  And the powerful minority of do-nothing ideologues appear to have the upper hand in the Senate.

And that means a modern day Mr. Potter oil company executive can speak his mind and tell us what he really thinks of clean energy, as Greenwire (subs. req’d) reports:

HOUSTON — Leaders of two of the world’s largest oil and gas companies used their addresses at CERAWeek, a sprawling conference sponsored by energy analysis firm IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, to warn against unbridled optimism about wind and solar energy. Khalid Al-Falih, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, deemed overreliance on renewable power dangerous, while ConocoPhillips Chairman James Mulva employed sarcasm to compare renewable boosters to those who won’t acknowledge climate change.

“We must overcome the opposition of the ‘hydrocarbon deniers,’ “ Mulva said, playing off the term “climate deniers,” used to describe skeptics about climate science. Hydrocarbon deniers, he said, are those who “believe that renewable energy will quickly and easily replace hydrocarbons and cure all that ails us.”

Well, I’m quite sure if Mulva and his buddies have anything to say about it, we won’t be curing what ails us anytime soon!

Mulva, whose company supports mandatory U.S. regulation of greenhouse gases, said renewables cannot develop quickly enough to replace fossil fuels, and he predicted that even in 40 years, most electricity will not come from renewable sources.

Hmm.  ConocoPhillips left the US Climate Action Partnership in February, primarily it seems because it didn’t like even the modest regulation of emissions from oil that USCAP had been pushing.

“After all, there are only so many places where massive development is economical and publicly acceptable,” Mulva said, “and only so much government funding to subsidize the renewable sources.”

Seriously.  Of course, that’s the point of having a price on carbon that Mulva had been supporting, so you don’t need endless subsidies.  Later in the very same article we read:

Mulva lambasted the administration’s proposals to terminate tax benefits on oil and gas. “Perhaps it has not learned that if you tax something you get less of it,” he said. “Less supply security, fewer jobs and lower reinvestment.”

Yes, endless subsidies for fossil fuels, even though they dominate the market and are destroying a livable climate, but clean energy, well there’s only so much funding available for that.

Wind and solar have problems with “cost, reliability, visual impact, land and water use, bird strikes and massive power-line rights of way,” Mulva said. Biofuels, he said, require large amounts of land and water, can drive up food prices and increase greenhouse gas emissions.

It boggles the mind.  In Mulva’s Bizarro World, Htrea, oil extraction, transportation, and refining are purely benign.

The Saudis have even more chutzpah, as it were:

Al-Falih said too much focus on renewables could diminish the investment needed to continue producing traditional fuels and could create a “green bubble” in energy markets.

“The belief in an almost instantaneous transformation to alternative energy is worrisome to me,” Al-Falih said. “While our subsurface resources remain plentiful, we may create a bottleneck above ground by failing to invest wisely and in a timely fashion.”

[Pause to clean up gray matter off the floor — sorry for not warning you about the need for a head vise.]

The entire goal of Saudi Aramco and OPEC is to create a bottleneck above ground in oil!

Where is George Bailey when we need him?

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16 Responses to ConocoPhillips chair mocks clean energy advocates as “hydrocarbon deniers”

  1. Sean says:

    I know this is off topic but isn’t it about that time of year, when we get a fresh prediction of how Arctic sea ice levels this summer will be lower than any year in recorded history?

  2. DreamQuestor says:


    I find that it helps to retain your sanity if you consider the Saudis and Big Oil as the modern equivalent of the 19th century slavery advocates. Quite a few otherwise moral, reasonable people used absurd logic and clung to cherished myths while trying to justify their “right” to enslave another human being. So it is with fossil fuels. We are the abolitionists of the 21st century, struggling to break the chains of fossil fuels that shackle humanity.

  3. Michael T says:


    NSIDC has a new report on the Arctic sea ice here:

  4. Doug Bostrom says:

    Oil companies are rotten stewards of oil resources. Production and marketing are two legs of a stool, intelligent consumption is the missing limb.

  5. Michael T says:


    I forgot to mention to scroll down to where it says “Double-dip Arctic Oscillation”. That is where they make a prediction based on what has happened this winter in the Arctic.

    Here is a quote:
    “The pattern of winds associated with a strongly negative AO tends to reduce export of ice out of the Arctic through the Fram Strait. This helps keep more of the older, thicker ice within the Arctic. While little old ice remains, sequestering what is left may help keep the September extent from dropping as low as it did in the last few years. Much will depend on the weather patterns that set up this spring and summer.”

  6. Jeff Huggins says:

    I have been following ExxonMobil for a long time, including many of their published stats and many of their public communications. I’ve spent hours and hours and hours to convey some facts about that to over fifty people in climate organizations, the media, think thanks, and so forth. I’ve posted a great deal of information about ExxonMobil here, on ClimateProgress. I’ve complained to The New York Times (via many ways, including repeatedly to Andy Revkin) about their dismal lack of coverage of ExxonMobil for the last two years. I’ve corresponded directly with a member of ExxonMobil’s board of directors, and he has corresponded back with me. I’ve run a full-page advertorial about the problem of ExxonMobil in the student newspaper at Harvard Business School, where the board member teaches.

    I’ve done all these things — and more — regarding ExxonMobil.

    Why do I say this? Here’s why …

    Not a single person from an officlal organization, think tank, media organization, or etc. has gotten back to me! Not one! Total silence!

    The people that write back to me are concerned individuals. But, have I heard back from Andy Revkin regarding The Times’ coverage of ExxonMobil? No. Have I heard back from The Times’ Public Editor? No. Did I hear back from any of the many prominent climate reporters, for more information? No. Have I heard back from ClimateProgress or CAP regarding ExxonMobil and my understanding/knowledge of that issue? Not once.

    By background, I’m not unqualified to follow and analyze ExxonMobil. I was a chemical engineer from Berkeley. I worked in research and engineering in the oil industry, for Chevron, for several years. I’ve had offers from Chevron, Exxon, and Shell. I have an MBA. I was a McKinsey consultant. And blah blah blah. Again, my point is this: I’ve been trying to connect with, and help, regarding the ExxonMobil problem, and not a single person from any of the climate organizations, clean energy organizations, key media organizations, key climate blogs, etc. have gotten in touch with me. Not one.

    This is the way I feel at this moment: In about five days, I’m gonna give up.


  7. Sean says:

    Michael T, many thanks. That directly anwers my question.

    Also, I did a search on Arctic Oscillation and found the following intro:

    Joe, perhaps it’s time for another post on Arctic sea ice.


  8. Sean says:


    Don’t give up so soon. ANy chance you could post a summary list of issues you raised?

    Also, could you address one thing I have always wondered about. Joe writes that “Oil prices and profits are on the rise again. The anti-science disinformation campaign funded in large part by Big Oil is having unimaginable success.”

    If prices and profits are linked, and prices go up when supply goes down, wouldn’t that mean that oil companies would rather restrict the supply of oil? If for example, offshore drilling and drilling in Alaska were suddenly unregulated, wouldn’t the price of oil go down? Conversely, if new limits were placed on drilling, restricting supply, wouldn’t the price of oil go up, increasing profits (and providing more funds for the campaign)?



  9. Michael T says:

    #7 Sean,

    NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center keeps a daily record of the Arctic Oscillation index and also makes forecasts here:

  10. catman306 says:

    Jeff Huggins: Maybe even the Truth is afraid of Exxon/Mobil. Shouldn’t we all be?

  11. mike roddy says:

    Dream Questor:

    Yeah, I agree. Or how about this: The carriage and stables industries of 1900 get paid for each pile of manure that comes from a horse, and announce that switching to vehicles is at least 40 years away.

  12. prokaryote says:

    Mulva: Hydrocarbon deniers, he said, are those who “believe that renewable energy will quickly and easily replace hydrocarbons and cure all that ails us.”

    This is irrelevant, because hydrocarbon emission destroy our habitat.
    And it’s wrong, because renewable energy is capable to generate all the energy we want. Further such action threaten national security and our species survival.

  13. Michael Y says:

    Hi Sean,

    Regarding supply and demand, prices and profits and oil: whichever firm gets access to the new oil gains much more than any loss associated with a drop in price. The drop in price will be negligible and shared across all producers. The firm that gets access to the new oil captures all of the profits.

    The biggest challenge for the IOCs is finding and accessing new oil. This is the whole game, even if every new find increases supply.

    Hope that helps,


  14. Jeff Huggins says:

    Dear Sean, Comment 8,

    Thanks for your comment, and I’ve written a response, but for some reason it isn’t registering into the system. So, I’ll try to post it again later.



  15. _Flin_ says:

    The bottleneck is already there. Total global oil production rose less than 2% over the last 5 years.

    Doesn’t the oil industry like to profit from record oil prices? Or is this something else? Peak Oil? Oh, but I forgot, this is just another communist propaganda piece. Like that global warming hoax. (Warning! This is a cynical paragraph. Statements are ironic)

  16. Sean says:


    That makes sense. If every oil company doubled their supply, prices would plumment but the increased volume would still drive up profits.

    Nevertheless, based on that analysis, we should see high oil prices as a frustration of their plans because it indicates they are not getting the increased supply they desire.