Under pressure from Congress, senior oil industry executives Wednesday said they would be willing to consider a partnership with the federal government to promote energy conservation.
Exxon Mobil Corp.'s Lee Raymond, ConocoPhillips' Jim Mulva, Chevron Corp.'s David O'Reilly, BP America Inc.'s Ross Pillari and Shell Oil Co.'s John Hofmeister all told a joint hearing of the Senate Energy and Commerce Committees they would be open to such a program, potentially with the U.S. Department of Energy, under the right conditions.
"(We) would be interested in working with the DOE to the extent that something constructive could be done," O'Reilly said in response to a question from New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman, the top Democrat on the Energy Committee.
Others echoed the sentiment, after Bingaman suggested the industry could potentially create some kind of partnership with the government to advertise or otherwise promote conservation techniques.
"We're very willing to explore just those concepts of working together with the government to see just what we can do about conservation," Mulva said.
Their comments came as the price of crude oil fell sharply on data showing a larger-than-expected increase in supply. But all agreed that conservation is an integral part of a future energy program, along with more increases in supply and the use of alternative fuels.