Exxon executive reiterates call for access

McGill says nation's oil and gas reserves should be opened

Posted: Wednesday, October 25, 2006

GRAPEVINE, Texas - Exxon Mobil Corp. Sr. Vice President Stuart McGill would not mince words on Tuesday when he said the nation's ability to foster domestic oil and gas production is in "short supply."

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McGill spoke to oil producers at the Independent Petroleum Association of America and The Associated Press about ongoing concerns with energy policy that has divided lawmakers and stifled domestic production.

"The political will, based on a realistic energy outlook, to allow further development of these and other energy resources in the United States has been in short supply," McGill told the group. "It is hard to expect to be taken seriously when calling on other countries to increase their supplies when so much of our own resource endowment is off-limits."

With midterm elections looming, McGill refused to get drawn into any kind of political blame game. He's leaving that to the politicians.

He's calling for a lawmaker consensus, or something close, that would enable companies to take advantage of untapped resources in areas in Alaska, the Rocky Mountains and the Outer Continental Shelf.

Access has been a divisive topic among lawmakers who remain far apart on whether companies should be developing certain oil and natural gas fields.

McGill's concern can be illustrated by examining areas such as Alaska's Arctic refuge. Opponents say drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would jeopardize the wild ecosystem that characterizes the refuge's coastal plain where polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife thrive.

McGill said technological advances such as less disruptive drilling measures are working. It's being done overseas and can be done domestically just as safely, he said.

He said prospects for significant development in North America still hold promise.

"You improve security supply by creating policy environments where companies are encouraged to invest in additional supplies using this technology and for which there is a market," he said.



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