The United States will always rely on foreign imports of oil to feed
its energy needs and should stop trying to become energy independent, a top
Exxon Mobil Corp. <XOM.N> executive said on Tuesday.
"Realistically, it is simply not feasible in any time period relevant
to our discussion today," Exxon Mobil Senior Vice President Stuart McGill
said, referring to what he called the "misperception" that the United
States can achieve energy independence.
The comments, in a speech at an energy conference in Houston, come a few days
after U.S. President George W. Bush declared America was addicted to Middle
Eastern oil and promised to help the country kick the habit.
Many in the United States believe America should wean itself off oil imports
from the Middle East, fearing it makes the country dangerously dependent on
an unstable region.
The world's largest publicly traded oil company, however, says hoping to end
foreign oil imports is not only a bad idea, but also impossible.
"Americans depend upon imports to fill the gap," McGill said. "No
combination of conservation measures, alternative energy sources and technological
advances could realistically and economically provide a way to completely replace
those imports in the short or medium term."
Instead of trying to achieve energy independence, importing nations like the
U.S. should be promoting energy interdependence, McGill said.
"Because we are all contributing to and drawing from the same pool of
oil, all nations — exporting and importing — are inextricably bound
to one another in the energy marketplace," he said.