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Exxon Chief Criticizes U.S. Oil Policy

 

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The Wall Street Journal: Exxon Chief Criticizes U.S. Oil Policy

By RUSSELL GOLD and STEPHEN POWER
May 16, 2008; Page A8

Exxon Mobil Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson says he finds it “astonishing” that President Bush is asking Saudi Arabia to pump more oil rather than working harder to clear the way for more oil production at home.

[Rex Tillerson]

In an interview Thursday, Mr. Tillerson called it “terribly upside down” that Mr. Bush would lobby members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to boost production when much of the U.S.’s coastal waters remains off-limits to drilling. Mr. Bush, in the Middle East this week, plans to talk with Saudi King Abdullah about raising production and other ways to lower global oil prices.

Lifting a federal moratorium on offshore drilling in many parts of the U.S. has been a long-held aim of the industry. About one-quarter of U.S. oil and gas production comes from offshore wells in the Gulf of Mexico, but other offshore areas in the U.S. are largely off-limits.

The federal government controls drilling in offshore U.S. waters and is prevented from leasing these areas to oil companies by both a congressional moratorium and a presidential order signed by the first President Bush in 1990 and renewed by President Clinton in 1998. The current President Bush has deferred to the governors of California and Florida, who have opposed offshore drilling.

A White House spokesman said the administration has worked with state leaders to “expand domestic exploration in an environmentally sensitive way.”

Also in the interview, Mr. Tillerson said Exxon was close to signing a deal with the Iraqi national oil company to provide technical services to boost production from the Zubair field. He said he would sign a three-year deal but wouldn’t send Exxon employees because of the security situation.

Write to Russell Gold at [email protected] and Stephen Power at [email protected]

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121090236518197573.html

 

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