Shell Oil executive outlines 12-point energy plan

March 10, 2008
Shell Oil Co. Pres. John D. Hofmeister said his company proposes a 12-point energy plan, noting that he believes World War II was the last time the US had a “coherent, comprehensive” energy policy.

Shell Oil Co. Pres. John D. Hofmeister said his company proposes a 12-point energy plan, noting that he believes World War II was the last time the US had a “coherent, comprehensive” energy policy.

Hofmeister, speaking Feb. 27 to Business and Climate Change conference cosponsored by the British Consulate-General of Houston, Shell, and others, advocated a US energy policy to address short-term, medium-term, and long-term issues.

Calling upon the US government to approach energy security in a bipartisan manner, Hofmeister said lawmakers need to give energy security the same attention that they already give homeland security and economic security.

Although every presidential candidate has made energy speeches, Hofmeister said, “We must beware of superficial promises of easy solutions.” He foresees “hard choices ahead of us” that will require “a broad understanding of the basic issues of energy security.”

For instance, the US needs more investment and public acceptance of efforts to update its electric transmission system, its oil and gas pipeline systems, and expand its liquefied natural gas facilities, he said.

“We face enormous difficulty in siting LNG regasification terminals, especially on the East and West Coasts, Hofmeister said. “It will take ongoing education and forward-looking policymakers to make this clean energy source accessible.”

For example, Shell US Gas & Power and TransCanada Corp. continue working to receive all necessary clearances for the Broadwater Energy’s proposed offshore LNG project in Long Island Sound.

The project, if authorized, would be developed in New York state waters about 9 miles from Long Island’s nearest shoreline and about 10 miles from Connecticut’s closest shore. The terminal would be a floating storage and regasification unit attached to a yoke mooring system that would include a mooring tower embedded in the sea floor.

While Broadwater has been in the planning and authorization stages, Shell reports the construction of two LNG plants outside the US in which it has an equity interest. One is in India and one is in Mexico.

12-point plan

Hofmeister said energy strategy progress requires “national political will, technological and human energy, and major financial investments.” He said “a national climate change policy makes much better sense than dozens of regional policies or 50 state policies.”

States can be helpful in pointing federal government in the right direction, but the atmosphere does not recognize state boundaries, he said.

Shell’s 12-point plan addresses energy supply, energy demand, and environment. It was compiled after Shell executives visited 50 US cities in 18 months in what the company called “A National Dialogue on Energy Security.”

Hofmeister is meeting individually with US presidential candidates to discuss the plan, which calls for:

  • Greater access to conventional oil and gas in and off the US.
  • Development of unconventional oil and gas resources, particularly oil shale in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah.
  • Greater emphasis on clean coal technology, particularly coal gasification or integrated gas combined cycle technology, can allow the US to use coal to generate electricity while capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide.
  • Supplementing US natural gas supply with imported LNG.
  • Moving biofuels beyond the food parts of grain to biofuels like cellulosic ethanol made from the stalks and other nonfood parts of grain.
  • Creating wind energy distribution systems.
  • Pushing solar research to make solar energy commercially viable.
  • Developing a hydrogen fleet and fueling infrastructure. Hydrogen as an automotive fuel is in the pilot stages with only a few demonstration projects in the US.
  • Improving energy-efficient designs of various energy products including light bulbs and automobile engines. This includes more energy efficiency in urban planning.
  • Developing a federal framework for measuring and controlling greenhouse gases. Shell advocates an effective US climate change policy including a cap-and-trade program.
  • Educating citizens on energy issues, starting with programs in the schools.
  • Staying open to other viable energy alternatives, including as-yet-undiscovered options along with nuclear power, geothermal energy and hydropower.