It’s not just ExxonMobil that came out swinging after President Biden accused oil company executives of profiteering off the high gas prices and refusing to restore refining capacity that was reduced at the outset of the pandemic. Mike Wirth, the CEO of Chevron, responded to the president’s June 14th letter, pointing out the company produced the greatest volume of oil and gas in its history last year and has invested heavily in clean technologies. But he was also frank about the White House’s attitude and policies toward the industry.
“I want to be clear that Chevron shares your concerns over the higher prices that Americans are experiencing,” Wirth wrote. “And I assure you that Chevron is doing its part to help address these challenges by increasing capital expenditures to $18 billion in 2022, more than 50% higher than last year.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
He called for “clarity and consistency” from the Biden administration “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" -- not just "political rhetoric."
When asked about the CEO’s comments, Biden said Wirth is "mildly sensitive" and he “didn't know they'd get their feelings hurt that quickly.”
He continued: “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," Biden added.
REPORTER: "The Chevron CEO [...] said that your administration has largely criticized the oil & gas industry & [...] would need to take a change in approach in order to make progress in reducing energy prices."— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) June 21, 2022
BIDEN: "I didn't know they'd get their feelings hurt that quickly." pic.twitter.com/CnqiTb9wzw