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Shell executive says low prices may hurt energy policy

Reuters

Mon Dec 1, 2008 7:32pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Shell Oil Co (RDSa.L: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz) President Marvin Odum said Monday he is concerned that falling oil prices are hurting investment in the sector and may push energy down as a priority for lawmakers.

“My number one concern is that energy moves off the top of the agenda,” Odum told reporters after speaking at energy event.

Despite the drop in fuel costs, Odum said it is extremely important that lawmakers remain focused on energy, especially as some companies begin to cut back on investment. He said when the economy comes back, demand “will come back with a vengeance.”

He urged lawmakers to set up a cap-and-trade system to add certainty to the market as companies choose their investments.

Oil prices have plunged dramatically from record prices above $147 a barrel in July to settling at $49.28 on Monday, the lowest level in more than three years. Odum said although oil prices are always volatile, the swings in prices this year were higher than expected.

Odum added that his company continues to focus on long-term strategies and not on the periodic ups and downs in oil prices.

(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

 

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