It’s not often that you ask people to look into the crystal ball and ask them if and when they can predict the demise of their industry. So the last people you should be asking about the future of energy policy – and America’s energy independence – is probably the oil industry.
Oilmen, as we know, are kind of addicted to oil. Most US oil-industry executives scoff at the idea that the country can wean itself off foreign crude in the next couple of decades, a new survey has showed.
So despite the emphasis on alternative energy sources in current and proposed government energy policies, the oil boys believe that mass production of alternative energy simply is not viable in the short term.
Of the 382 oil and gas financial executives polled by KPMG last month, 63% said energy independence is not possible until after 2030. Only 16% said it might happen by 2030, while an optimistic 9% said independence is possible before 2020.
Also, 63% of the respondents said Obama’s plan to eliminate tax breaks for intangible drilling costs will actually push more companies to shift their drilling efforts overseas and will result in unconventional oil and gas wells not being drilled in the US, a factor that likely will slow the race toward energy independence.
“Despite the increased focus on domestic energy sources, energy infrastructure, and alternative energy sources, a realistic assessment of technology and investment in the industry suggests energy independence is not realistic for at least 2 decades,” said Bill Kimble, executive director of KPMG Global Energy Institute. “The executives’ perceptions of energy independence mirror their views on the viability of alternatives in the near term as well.”
And given the fact that even the big boys like Shell have just pulled out of wind and solar saying essentially it is not economic, the oil men look like they will carry on doing what they like doing best: drilling for oil and gas.
But maybe next time KPMG should ask the wind energy what they think about what is achievable by 2015. Because I am sure you would get a different answer.