Oil Execs Defend High Gasoline Prices, Record Profits
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- During this week’s “Meet the Press,” oil executives argued that the industry’s record profits are required to maintain supply.“If we didn’t have this level of profitability, I don’t think we could get the supplies to where they need to get to,” said John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co. He also argued that the industry needs more access to federal lands and offshore waters. James Mulva, chairman of ConocoPhillips Co., said the U.S. needs to both add supply and reduce demand. “In the United States alone, we have about 2 percent of world oil reserves, 5 percent of the population, and yet we use about 25 percent of the world’s consumption of oil,” Mulva said. Mulva also added that compared to some European countries and other parts of the West, where gasoline can cost as much as $5 to $7 per gallon, Americans pay far less. The industry as a whole is concerned about this year’s hurricane season, said Chevron Chairman David J. O’Reilly. But if the season is relatively mild and hurricanes don’t have an impact on supply, he said he’s optimistic that prices at the pump won’t spike this summer.