Texaco Chairman Urges Firms to Take Stand

Article excerpt

HOUSTON _ The petroleum industry finds itself confronting a series of significant challenges and issues whose resolution will affect millions of people around the world for years to come, Texaco Inc. Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Alfred C. DeCrane, Jr., told energy executives Tuesday.

Delivering the keynote address at the Arthur Andersen Oil and Gas Symposium in Houston, DeCrane said serious flaws in U.S. energy policies, coupled with the country's discriminatory taxation policies and those environmental regulations whose costs exceed the potential benefits, have strong negative consequences for both the energy industry and the economic well-being of the United States.

"Considering the central role of oil and gas in the nation's economy, these trends carry major and ominous implications _ not only for the nation's economic `balance sheet,' but for our status as a world power, as well," said DeCrane.

It is time for the oil and gas industry, he said, to "sound the trumpet" for public policies that are realistic, fair and truthful in the face of misinformation and misunderstanding. As leaders of this industry, and as concerned citizens, it is our responsibility to help insure that the public has access to those facts essential to the shaping of major energy policy decisions, said DeCrane.

He said these issues include: This past July, domestic oil production dropped to its lowest level in 10 years, while the percentage of imported crude oil rose to a new high _ more than 50 percent _ and product imports were at the highest rate in four years. The country currently spends more than $1 billion a week to import oil _ which accounts for a full half of our national trade deficit. The petroleum industry is the keystone of the world's most advanced economies, and is especially critical to developing countries' efforts to improve the lives of their people. While some U.S. fields have been producing for 50 to 100 years, overall daily domestic production is still a vitally important 6.6 million barrels of oil and 52 billion cubic feet of gas _ totalling more than 15 million barrels of oil equivalent daily. …