Deloitte: Consumers, oil executives differ on energy solutions

Oil and gas executives and consumers often disagree about how US energy challenges should be resolved, said results of a survey commissioned by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP.

Paula Dittrick
Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Dec. 13 -- Oil and gas executives and consumers often disagree about how US energy challenges should be resolved, said results of a survey commissioned by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP.

For instance, 73% of executives surveyed had a positive view about industry efforts to solve America's energy challenges while only 12% of the polled consumers agreed with that view.

International Communications Research conducted the Deloitte survey by telephone during October, polling 504 consumers and 200 oil and gas industry executives. Results were released Dec. 12 at Deloitte's annual oil and gas conference in Houston.

Some 37% of executives saw oil and gas companies as the best at solving US energy problems, while 27% of consumers rated themselves as best at solving US energy problems.

Each group held venture capitalists in high regard as energy problem-solvers (21% for consumers and 20% for industry.) Some 17% of consumers listed the federal government as the best energy problem-solver, while 10% of executives supported that view.

Gary A. Adams, Deloitte's vice-chairman and US oil and gas leader, said industry needs to become more communicative and collaborative if it is to win public support and improve alliances with politicians to develop a coherent, long-term national energy policy.

Top concerns listed
Executives and consumers agreed that a top energy-related concern is too much dependence on oil from places unfriendly to the US. A total of 29% of executives and 27% of consumers cited this as the most critical US energy issue.

"With the growing trend toward energy resource nationalism, it is easy to understand the anxiety about being too reliant on these sources," Adams said. "It is a troublesome trend for consumers and industry executives."

Consumers and industry executives also were concerned about what Adams called the lack of a "realistic energy policy for America."

"Regrettably, most of our national efforts to address long-term energy challenges have been politically inspired, piecemeal, short-term projects," Adams said.

Meanwhile, 19% of consumers reported concern about high gasoline prices, and 20% of executives reported angst over diminishing US oil and gas supplies. But neither issue was a shared concern.

Of the executives surveyed, 67% expect oil companies to allocate less than 20% of capital costs toward alternative energy investments, while 55% of consumers believe the commitment will be less than 20% of capital budgets for companies.

Yet, 72% of consumers expressed a strong desire for greater investments in developing alternative energy sources.

Survey participants gave low priority to energy conservation, which was listed as a concern by 9% of consumers and 6% of executives.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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