Marathon Oil CEO Sees Gradual Move to Renewable Fuels

NEW ORLEANS -- Marathon Oil Co. CEO Clarence Cazalot believes politicians who insist on a quick move from the use of fossil fuels to cleaner fuels are misguided, according to a report in The Times Picayune.

"Political rhetoric and posturing have no place here," Cazalot said, noting efforts to hastily rid the nation of fossil fuels in favor of biofuels and renewable energy are "well-intended, but incomplete," because they don't consider a variety of energy sources.

Cazalot was a speaker at the annual meeting of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association meeting.

Marathon's President and CEO said "energy security" should be of a higher priority than pushing for entirely renewable fuel sources, the newspaper reported. Cazalot defined energy security as developing an adequate supply of energy from diverse sources and producing it at a price that makes it affordable for a wide range of individuals and other interests. While that mix should include renewable sources such as solar and wind, it does not mean those would be used at the exclusion of more traditional energy sources.

Cazalot said talk about oil and gas in Congress has centered solely on how quickly and to what extent renewable energy can replace fossil fuel in the sector. But, he argued, the conversation should not be about how soon one could replace the other, because by his estimates it would take several decades for that to happen. "There are no quick fixes," Cazalot was quoted as saying.

Renewable energy currently makes up about 10 percent of the world energy supply, he noted. By 2030, that share will rise to 12 percent. There's no "technological silver-bullet" that will change that, Cazalot said. "This is more difficult than putting a man on the moon."

The energy industry should create a transition plan that involves promoting energy efficiency, supporting technological innovations and diversifying and increasing the supply of all forms of energy, he said. "They all have their own issues," Cazalot noted. "It is absolutely critical that our political leaders not pick winners and losers and not legislate based on what is popular."

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