Biden calls Chevron CEO ‘mildly sensitive’ as he urges for clear energy policy
RIYADH: US president Joe Biden called Chevron CEO Mike Wirth ‘mildly sensitive’, as the latter urged for a clear energy policy in the nation, amid supply and demand imbalances aggravated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Biden made this comment when he was asked to respond to Wirth’s letter, in which he argued that addressing the issue of soaring fuel prices requires thoughtful action and a willingness to work together, not political rhetoric.
“He’s mildly sensitive. I didn’t know they’d get their feelings hurt that quickly,” said Biden, according to Fox News.
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He added, “Look, we need more refining capacity. This idea that they don’t have oil to drill and to bring up is simply not true. We ought to be able to work something out whereby they’re able to increase refining capacity and still not give up on transitioning to renewable energy. They’re both within the realm of possibility.”
Last week Biden had sent a letter to oil executives asking them to refrain from reaping “historically high profit margins,” and claimed that they are not doing anything to lower the prices.
As a reply, Wirth wrote a letter to Biden and argued that Chevron is doing its part to stabilize the sector, and added that the company increased its capital expenditures by $18 billion in 2022, more than 50 percent higher than last year.
Wirth also made it clear that Chevron produced its highest volume of gas and oil in 2021, since its launch in 1879.
“Chevron and its 37,000 employees work every day to help provide the world with the energy it demands and to lift up the lives of billions of people who rely on these supplies,” said Wirth.
He added, “Notwithstanding these efforts, your Administration has largely sought to criticize, and at times vilify, our industry. These actions are not beneficial to meeting the challenges we face and are not what the American people deserve.”
The CEO further noted that energy companies need clarity on policy matters to function better in the country.
“We need clarity and consistency on policy matters ranging from leases and permits on federal lands, to the ability to permit and build critical infrastructure, to the proper role of regulation that considers both costs and benefits,” he stated.
He also urged Biden to have an honest dialogue which could help to balance energy, economy, and environmental objectives related to the energy sector.