Exxon’s Tillerson on Peak Oil

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson’s answers on peak oil during a CNBC interview yesterday with Maria Bartiromo were instructive:

Bartiromo … asked Tillerson how Exxon could be expected to keep growing its reserves of oil and gas when $20 billion a year in capital spending through the rest of this decade will only result in an extra one million barrels a day in production volume, according to Exxon’s estimates.

Tillerson didn’t really answer the question, merely repeating his assertion that Exxon’s volumes will keep growing through the end of the decade. In a later exchange, he added that the world’s oil would not run out in his lifetime.

It’s a dodge. While I’m no raving peak oil nutter, saying oil won’t run out in his lifetime is in no sense equivalent to saying adding new supply isn’t becoming challenged, which is the real point of peak oil proponents.

[via WSJ Energy Roundup]


  1. I don’t know – I think a *lot* of peak oil proponents aren’t very nuanced or macro-economically aware, and really do believe WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF OIL!

  2. beep beep beep says:

    No one is saying we’re running out of oil John. That won’t happen for 100+ years. The question is about peak and I would say the proponents (at least what I’ve read) are fairly macro aware. They realize a connection between scarcity and R&D. This is an awfully evasive answer from Tillerson. Either he doesn’t know or he is worried.

  3. I think Tillerson’s comment is pretty safe. One could argue that oil will never “run out.” It will always be somewhere too expensive (or uneconomic) to extract.
    Maybe it will get as expensive as gold, but probably not in my lifetime. Can you imagine a future where “pure petroleum oil” is a luxury item? “…dude, I only buy clothes made from 100% pure petroleum….none of that synth stuff!”