ExxonMobil peak oil cartoon
This cartoon illustrated full-page advertisement bought by ExxonMobil in the New York Times. The accompanying copy reassured that there is no evidence of peak oil now, next year or anytime in the foreseeable future.

Open Letter to Rex Tillerson

Cultural economist Ronald Cooke's letter to ExxonMobil's Chairman

By Ronald E. Cooke

Mr. Rex Tillerson
Chairman of the Board
5959 Las Colinas Boulevard
Irving, Texas 75039-2298

Dear Sir:

I am very pleased with the Ad your company placed in the media on March 2, 2006. It is a relief to know that "Peak Oil" is not a problem. A peak, ExxonMobil claims, "will not occur this year, next year or for decades to come". Technology will save us by consistently increasing the estimates of recoverable oil. ExxonMobil's Ad tells us that "oil production and production capacity have increased", and there is "enough potential supply to meet .. demand".

ExxonMobil obviously has inside information it does not want to share with the public. We are thus forced to take the implications of your company's Ad at face value. Based on representations made by ExxonMobil, I can keep my SUV and buy a motor home. I no longer have to worry about oil shortages. Your company's Ad infers there will be plenty of gasoline for the rest of my life, and of course, with such a plentiful supply – it will not cost much. Lord knows, with the profits your company made in 2005, there is no need to raise the price of gasoline, diesel, or heating oil fuels.

Unfortunately, there appears to be a discrepancy between the wonderful optimism of ExxonMobil's Ad, and the reality of your operations as reported to the American Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on form 10K. Now don't get me wrong. I am very sympathetic with your company's desire to project a positive image to investors. But can you explain why ExxonMobil's Net Proved Developed and Undeveloped Oil Reserves, and Net Productive Oil Wells have declined, or why almost all of the reserve additions made in 2005 were in the form of natural gas – not oil. And if most of ExxonMobil's production revenue is coming from oil and NGL, and oil reserves are decreasing, is it possible ExxonMobil is eating up its oil reserve legacy? And if there is so much oil out there, why isn't your company's oil business growing?

Frankly, Rex, the reality of your company's oil business appears to be at odds with the very bullish image projected by ExxonMobil's Peak Oil Ad of March 2, 2006. If the largest independent oil company in the world is experiencing reserve growth challenges, that fact raises serious questions about the entire independent petroleum industry. Consequently, your company's "Peak Oil" Ad is nonsense.

Well. I'll say goodbye for now. Keep on drilling them holes.

Ronald R. Cooke
The Cultural Economist
Author: Oil, Jihad and Destiny

Times Article Viewed: 8589
Published: 14-Mar-2006


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