It's the Environment, Stupid.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Energy security - ExxonMobil

I've blogged previously about ExxonMobil's ads in the NY Times op-ed pages (here, here, and here.) So of course I have to mention today's ad titled: "True Energy Security." (You can see the pdf here.)

While I'm not so sure they've got the best interests of energy users at heart, they've at least got a stake, not to mention a major role in how energy is secured in the future - especially where oil markets and trade are concerned. Of course it is no coincidence that this Thursday (these ads often run in Thursday editions of the NY Times) falls on the week before the G8 summit where international energy security and trade will be the top topics (the ad says as much.)

So how does ExxonMobil view energy security? "The most immediate way to achieve energy security is through effective interdependence. By improving relations between producing and consuming nations, strengthening trade ties and developing supplies from many different parts of the world, we can reduce the impact of disruption in any one exporting country. This stability helps energy consumers and producers alike." This makes perfect sense, only as with most things, is easier said than done. Many oil rich nations, especially in Africa, are rife with corruption and violence when their economy is based on resource extraction. (I met a government official of Nigeria at the World Urban Forum last month, who I'm sure would back up that statement.)

Perhaps that is why in the next paragraph the oil giant touts their diversification and risk hedging: "ExxonMobil is helping diversify Americans' energy sources by building partnerships and developing energy in 26 countries on 6 continents. In North America alone we've invested $25 billion over the last five years. We also strengthen energy security by promoting energy efficiency and researching commercially-viable, breakthrough energy alternatives for the future."

While the ad is vague as to what these "breakthrough energy alternatives" are, if we are to have an energy future where we are interdependent, as opposed to independent, it will be imperative for countries to focus on diversification (not just different sources of oil, but several sources of energy production), which I believe will be the key to true energy security in the future.

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