EnergyFactor By ExxonMobil | Pespectives has a new home


All Posts from March, 2013

Late on Friday, the U.S. Senate passed an amendment urging approval of the Keystone XL pipeline by a vote of 62-37. Critics were quick to note that the Senate’s action won’t green light the pipeline. Since authority for approving the pipeline rests with President Obama, they argue, the vote was symbolic. Move along, nothing to see here. Just because it was symbolic, however, doesn’t mean it’s not significant.

Previously I noted a number of the factors experts are citing to explain the recent increase in U.S. gasoline prices. They range from increased global crude oil demand to unplanned refinery outages. Such explanations are fine as far as they go and worth keeping in mind. But there is a larger point I want to emphasize, which is that there is never any one specific factor that fully accounts for the total price consumers pay at the pump.

Rising gasoline prices have sparked media attention and resulted in commentators struggling to understand and explain the latest market developments. I thought of this challenge recently as I read a piece in The Washington Post entitled “Gas prices are on a mysterious climb.” The story contained a lot of detail and useful information, but I had a problem with the headline. The issue is complex, but it is not a complete mystery.

The readers of The New York Times opened their papers this morning to find an insightful column with some, perhaps, unfamiliar ideas. In the “Axis of Ennui,” respected columnist David Brooks writes about the “boring” people and industries that are transforming the U.S. economy for the better. At the top of his list is the U.S. energy industry.

ExxonMobil’s earnings often get a lot of attention from politicians and the media. Far less attention is paid to the amount of money we invest to earn those profits. That’s a shame, because those numbers are quite instructive about the work we plan to do to help meet the world’s energy needs for the next several decades.

The reversal in fortunes of the U.S. chemical industry is one of the most remarkable stories flowing from the tremendous increase in domestic energy production from shale and other sources. Speaking at the annual IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston today, ExxonMobil Chemical president Steve Pryor offered a good summation of the chemical industry renaissance that has been sparked by a new abundance of natural gas, which chemical manufacturers use as a feedstock.

  • Worth a deeper look...