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Archive for June, 2010

ALERT!: John Hofmeister on MSNBC’s “HARBALL” July 1st 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010@ 5:56 PM
Author: admin

ALERT!*** John Hofmeister will be on “HARDBALL with Chris Matthews” on MSNBC, Thursday July 1, 2010.

HARDBALL airs at 5 PM EST and re-airs at 7 PM EST.  Please check your local listings for your MSNBC station.


Check here frequently for more information on John Hofmeister’s media appearances….

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Charlotte Observer Interviews John Hofmeister 6-30-2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010@ 4:53 PM
Author: admin

This article is reposted from charlotteobserver.com.  To see the original article, please visit:


‘Why we hate the oil companies’
By Christina Rexrode

Posted: Wednesday, Jun. 30, 2010

Who will fix the problem of energy supply?

It’s not the oil companies. They’re only worried about making money.

It’s not the government. Lawmakers care too much about getting re-elected. And the executive agencies are tripping all over each other.

John Hofmeister sees a grass-roots movement instead. “Time is ticking, energy is disappearing,” he told a receptive audience at Queens University of Charlotte on Wednesday morning. “We need an intervention.”

Hofmeister, 62, is an insider in the industry he’s trying to change. The former president of Shell Oil, he retired two years ago to found Citizens for Affordable Energy, which he hopes will grow into a groundswell to transform how Americans think about and consume energy. Unlike some other energy advocates, he doesn’t think the U.S. needs to wean itself completely off oil. Nor does he believe that the supply is running low. “We have more energy in this country than we will ever need,” he said. “We’re just not harnessing it.”

But at any rate, Hofmeister said, the U.S. can’t keep coasting along and hoping the coming crisis in energy supply will work itself out. Without some major changes, “we’ll be standing in gas lines on a continuing regular basis” and suffering through blackouts “as if we’re a Third World country” within 10 years, he said.

Among his proposals: Hofmeister wants to get rid of the internal combustion engine. “A dreaded 100-year-old device,” he called it. “Eighty percent of your gas dollar is wasted as heat.”

He also wants to radically reshape how Americans think about land-use management, moving from sprawling suburbs to walkable, European-style communities.

“If we want to believe that we can live anywhere, all over God’s green earth, and expect the wires to find us wherever we build our house, that’s a very inefficient use of energy,” Hofmeister said. But, he added, “It’s controversial, because who wants to tell a developer that there are limits on development?”

Hofmeister also proposes that the nation’s energy policy be set by an independent, apolitical board of governors, in line with what the Federal Reserve does for the monetary system. Their terms should be long, like the Fed governors’ 14-year terms, to insulate them from political pressures and because energy projects are not short-term deals. Hofmeister said he’s taken the idea to government bodies, but it was “dead on arrival.”

Hofmeister expounds on his ideas in his new book, “Why We Hate the Oil Companies.” He said he picked the title because it’s a feeling that everyone can relate to.

He talked to the Observer after his speech at Queens. Questions and answers have been edited for clarity and length.

Q. You said that “We have more energy in this country than we will ever need.” Really?

Most of what we have is geothermal, which never runs out – wind, solar, biofuels never run out. We have a finite amount of fuel, coal, oil and natural gas, but there are huge, huge quantities. We know we have more coal than any other country in the world. We know that in the intercontinental shelf there are about 100-plus billion barrels of conventional oil that remains to be produced, and whenever we get into big oil fields there’s always more than we expected. That’s been the history for 100 years.”

Q. So the problem isn’t the supply itself, but figuring out how to harness it?

We could harness every bit of it. It might not be inexpensive, but we could learn better over time how to bring the costs down. Uranium is expensive because of man-made rules that we apply to building nuclear plants that we could simplify and streamline. If we approached it as a massive building project, we could achieve economies of scale.

Q. You’ve come out in defense of BP’s chief executive, Tony Hayward. Why?

I think Tony Hayward is a traumatized individual who (was) doing a good job of leading a crisis team until he handed it over to (BP managing director) Bob Dudley. He got 1,000 people together, he got the best minds in the world together – it hasn’t all worked, but that happens. … I think he has not handled the communications well at all, but there’s more to a crisis than communications. When he’s compared to the professional communicators in Congress, he doesn’t add up, (but) you (should) judge him by his mind and decisions.

Q. Do you know Tony Hayward?

I’ve met him but just once, briefly.

Q. Well, maybe he needed a better PR team? To tell him not to take that yacht trip?

Yeah, I think there were some judgment issues there. But the way the president trashed Mr. Hayward publicly – the president has never run a major company that has normal operations to look after as well as a crisis. I think that’s below the dignity of what a president should do. It’s not his job to decide who should be hired.

Q. OK, but you also said that the BP oil spill was due to “gross human incompetence, if not negligence.” Doesn’t that mean there’s been some wrongdoing on BP’s part?

I don’t know about wrongdoing – I’m dealing with the competence issue. I think there were poor decisions made which unfortunately led to this tragedy. The decision to stay with an incompetent blowout protector was a bad decision, there was an inadequate set of choices about the design of the well, the decision to accelerate the cementing process – all of these were decisions that should have been made differently. They did not take the proper risk management approach to the security of the operations.

Q. Who does your message appeal to? Democrats or Republicans?

You know, I don’t really care. I make it my business to talk to both sides of the aisle. I want this to succeed with bi-party support. I happen to be a Democrat, I voted for Obama, (but) I’m critical of his energy policy. I don’t think it’s adequate to the nation’s needs. I believe the president has a long way to go to make some of the hard decisions that need to be made in respect to our energy future.

Q. You’re pretty critical of the oil companies. Like, you said that they’re only worried about making profits for their shareholders, not preserving the energy supply.

That’s nothing to be embarrassed about, that’s what companies do. What I’m critical of is the lack of public outreach, the lack of concern, the lack of compassion, for the issues the public faces as consumers and frankly as voters. When they don’t know what they need to know about energy, I believe it’s the company’s energy and duty to teach them. Also the government. I’m critical of both because they don’t do the job they should be doing.

Q. Well, you also said the oil companies have stymied energy innovation. And the point is, you’re criticizing the oil industry but you come from an oil company. So do you see yourself as a rebel or what?

Too many companies are too narrow in how they approach energy. … I’m proud of what my former company did. (And) Exxon is putting a huge amount of money into algae research for biofuels. So while I’m critical in general, there are good things being done.


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Book Review: Counsel for An Industry Under Fire
Monday, June 28, 2010@ 5:10 PM
Author: admin

This book review appears originally on the Financial Times website FT.com.  Please find the original at:


Review by Sheila McNulty

Published: June 28 2010 01:44 | Last updated: June 28 2010 01:44

Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider, by John Hofmeister, Palgrave Macmillan £17.99, $27

When John Hofmeister wrote this book, the former president of Royal Dutch Shell’s US business could have had no idea it would be published amid an oil spill gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. The title he chose could not have been more apt.

In an annual favourability poll by Gallup covering the 24 largest industries in the US, he notes, the industry has for the past seven years been rated 24 out of 24. That alone indicated a ready audience for Why We Hate the Oil Companies; after BP’s disaster it will be wider still.

Hofmeister begins with an anecdote about a meeting in 2007 with Microsoft executives about its plans to build at least six new information centres across the north-west. “We need new electricity equivalent to the output of a 350 megawatt power plant to support them,” Hofmeister recalls being told. “But we don’t know where we’re going to get that much new electricity in Washington or Oregon. Hydropower has peaked, there’s not enough natural gas, coal-burning plants cannot be built here for now, wind is too erratic and no nuclear plants are on the horizon in the time frame of our business growth. Do you have any suggestions about where electricity is going to come from in the future?’’

Microsoft would come up short. Hofmeister writes: “What was clear to me after this meeting was this: in the digital age, we are more power-hungry than ever. Our economic growth depends more than ever on electrons.’’

And yet, he argues, regulators continue to restrict access and limit production that could fuel the global economy. It is a misguided approach: all fuels will be needed and the world’s oil deposits could be relied upon for longer if used more cleanly and efficiently. But the industry has failed to engage and educate to make that case. If “Big Oil” encounters an administration that is unfavourable, it merely retreats to its bunker to wait for a friendlier one.

Hofmeister underlines the extent of public disdain by recounting a visit in 2006 to Pennsylvania, where he dropped in without warning on Shell stations. One manager was rude before finding out who Mr Hofmeister was and grew more so when the latter identified himself, saying: “You disgust me. You make billions, and I squeeze nickels to keep up with my bills.’’ The then Shell Oil president tried to engage, but the manager did not soften. “When the person wearing your logo sees your company as the problem,” Hofmeister reflects, “you know you are in trouble.’’

The issue, he says, is that oil companies do not see themselves as consumer products companies in the mould of Apple, which work to educate and build relationships. They see themselves as wholesale producers of high-volume products. The retail stations are not money makers and in many cases have been outsourced if not sold altogether. But they are where the public’s disdain for the industry is built – on high prices at the pump, first and foremost, but also on dirty restrooms and rude staff. “By the time a tanker’s load of gasoline is delivered to the retail station, the oil executive has moved on to think about the gasoline that will be delivered 10 to 25 years in the future.’’

These executives do not focus on the public, which, therefore, does not understand that while the raw profit numbers for oil companies are huge, earnings, measured in net income as a percentage of sales, are fairly modest, in the range of 6-8 per cent. This is a high-cost business; these numbers are fairly typical for manufacturing companies and well below the earnings of pharmaceutical, telecommunications and beverage companies.

Then there is the threat of disaster. “When the industry makes operational mistakes, they can be spectacular: refinery explosions, well blowouts, shipwrecks and oil spills. Equally spectacular is the industry’s poor handling of such incidents, to the point that they live on as case studies of what not to do in a crisis.’’

His solution? To create a Federal Energy Resources System, modelled on the Federal Reserve, to manage America’s energy and its energy-related environmental footprint. A group of governors with 14-year terms, he writes, could have the authority to make decisions that have been sorely needed for decades.

Would such a body have prevented the disaster in the gulf? Perhaps not, but it might well have seen the need for better regulation and accountability as the industry moved deeper and further offshore in search of new resources. Such oversight would certainly not hurt a regulatory system that has been rudderless for years.

The writer is US energy correspondent

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010.

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We still need oil. Let’s learn to live with it.
Friday, June 25, 2010@ 3:14 PM
Author: admin

This editorial appears originally in the Times of UK.  To see the source article, please visit:


(Note: Registration is required)

John Hofmeister
Last updated June 25 2010 12:01AM

The Gulf of Mexico will be cleaned up and we’ll go on needing energy that solar and wind power can’t provide

The pelicans and fishermen of America’s gulf coast are not the only victims of the brown sludge floating in from the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

The catastrophe, which killed 11 workers and caused possibly the biggest environmental headache the US has yet seen, has poisoned everything it touches. Nonetheless, we must look forward. The well will close, the Gulf will be cleaned. But will we have an energy future that builds on the lessons learnt from this tragedy or will we run away from risk?

Can a foreign company foul America’s nest, kidnap a President’s calendar, accentuate his diminishing power and survive? And what about BP’s traumatised CEO? Can he lead his company back from disaster? What about the larger industry? What role should oil companies play in our energy future?

America and the rest of the world need BP and the oil industry to simply do their jobs. Like it or not, we remain in a hydrocarbon age — bashing the oil companies won’t change that. The notion that this is the end of oil or that the big oil companies must diversify is nonsense. Newer alternatives are not capable of carrying the load. Electric cars and biofuels will not replace petroleum for decades — and probably never will.

Wind and solar power cannot replace coal and gas. The variable energy of renewables cannot be a substitute for the constant energy of fossil fuels. We may replace the internal combustion engine with hydrogen fuel cells, but that is still decades away. In the meantime we need more hydrocarbons.

There are more coal, oil and gas reserves waiting to be discovered or developed than the world has so far used. They remain affordable and efficient. The industry could increase production from 85 million barrels per day to 100 million or more and sustain such production for decades ahead. Some oil companies may choose to diversify into other areas. But it’s a choice, not an iron necessity.

So what about deepwater drilling? Isn’t it too dangerous? Forty years of drilling and 35,000 successful wells in the Gulf of Mexico speak for themselves. Technology, equipment, processes and systems are safe, but for human error. So it would be folly to discontinue or even suspend it — a view upheld by the Federal Court this week when it struck down the Obama Administration’s six-month moratorium on such drilling in the Gulf. The oceans may also be home to other natural resources that can be extracted in the future — especially precious metals and other mineral commodities, where technology can enable the production of vast new quantities of materials that the world needs.

What matters most for BP is execution of task. It does not have to declare bankruptcy, be taken over, or be prevented from properly rewarding its investors. Public confession and humiliating compensation accounts will work for a while in keeping the pressure off the company, but if its back is to the wall it can resort to the US courts for protection.

ExxonMobil did so after the Exxon Valdez disaster. Twenty years of court protection against punitive damages ensured its financial capacity and long-term success. BP may have to do the same to protect the enterprise. It must be responsible for the mess it has caused but it should not allow itself to be managed from the White House or Capitol Hill by individuals who have no knowledge or ability to run a company in good times, let alone in crisis.

For BP’s chief executive, Tony Hayward, the future is less certain. He should have left America to his US managers. They understand natives on the Big Island. The BP board will have to decide at the appropriate time when the unrecoverable loss of confidence by US stakeholders has undermined his ability to lead the corporation. Life is not fair.

For the wider oil industry, the future has been made more problematic, but it is not impossible. Sticking strictly to improved standards of oil well design, ditching more outdated equipment, robust safety procedures and a more collaborative response to new oil spills will all help to renew confidence in Big Oil. Human factors are the greatest danger to it. Perhaps rigs need a pilot and co-pilot, like aircraft; perhaps they need full-time government inspectors.

Meanwhile, America still needs its 10,000 gallons-per-second daily ration of oil. (It can export the risks that come with extracting energy from the ground to the Middle East or elsewhere in the world but it can only do so at great cost to its security, economy and standard of living.) And Chinese consumers will purchase more than 13 million cars this year. Both the near and medium-term outlooks demand more — not less — oil and natural gas. The speed at which the world invents its 21st-century energy systems will not be fast.

So even if the leak in the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t mean that we need to panic, we still need a new approach to energy. We need a 50-year plan to establish a balance of future energy supplies from oil, gas, coal, nuclear, hydropower, geothermal, hydrogen, wind, solar and biofuels.

We also need to adopt plans for greater efficiency such as the elimination of the internal combustion engine. The world needs more environmental protections to make sure that land, water and air are sustained for future generations. Also we need more infrastructure to transport energy from where it is produced to where it is consumed.

Finally politicians in most nations have demonstrated a perpetual inability to decide on the future of energy. The 21st-century makeover of energy and the environment that is needed will only happen if elected representatives develop the courage to hand over such governance to independent bodies staffed by experts, so that their electoral ambitions do not undermine the continuity of what actually has to be done.

John Hofmeister is a former president of the Shell Oil Company, founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy and author of Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider (Palgrave Macmillan)

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ALERT!*** John Hofmeister on “Hannity’s America” TONIGHT 9 PM
Friday, June 25, 2010@ 10:56 AM
Author: admin

John Hofmeister will appear on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity’s America”  TONIGHT June 25th 9:00 PM EST

Check your local listings for your Fox News Station.

Check back here frequently for more information on John Hofmeisters media appearances.

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Get Over the Oil Spill – by John Hofmeister
Thursday, June 24, 2010@ 5:34 PM
Author: admin

BS Top - Hoffmeister Hating Oil Mary Altaffer / AP Photo

Yes, the oil spill is a crisis, but let’s not pretend that we can just stop drilling for oil without hurting our economy and getting it from somewhere else, says former Shell Oil executive John Hofmeister.

Every morning Americans need 20 million barrels of oil to get through the day.

Whether we like or hate oil, its effects and affects, it matters not. Every day of President Obama’s tenure in office will still require 10 thousand gallons per second. Ninety four percent of all daily commerce takes place because diesel and turbine engines deliver the goods. Two hundred and fifty million cars, tens of millions of trucks, thousands of planes and ships use only oil, with perhaps a drop of biofuels. If we wish to keep those vehicles in motion this year, next year and through their normal mechanical lives, we must have more oil. And since no alternative non-oil vehicles are ready for market, at least not on a scale that makes a material difference in overall demand for oil anytime soon, we’d better get over our distaste at producing more oil. Further complicating things is the fact that the Chinese now buy 13 million additional cars each year. We compete for access to oil every day, as the thirst in China rises to U.S. levels.

We may not have a lot of fuzzy feelings toward oil right now. But we can’t stop drilling. Doing so is what will truly make this Obama’s Katrina.

The new energy policy, as the president described it last week, will hardly scratch the surface, even if he can see it through during a second term. It’s not that we shouldn’t make that start. But we must look realistically at the limits of what it can accomplish.

Full coverage of the oil spillWhy, then, has the president ordered a moratorium on deepwater drilling, and de facto stopped shallow water drilling to impose new regulations, in the midst of an economic growth cycle? Is it really due to the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and an unwillingness to risk more of the same on 33 additional rigs? Or is it a greater (political) need to subdue a range of increasingly unruly constituents who are unimpressed with the president’s handling of any number of issues in the run-up to the November elections, and especially aggravated by his seeming lack of control of this most obvious crisis?

Book Cover - Why We Hate the Oil Companies Why We Hate Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider. By John Hofmeister. 256 pages. Palgrave Macmillan. $27.

The evidence increasingly points to the Deepwater Horizon explosion as a human-caused, horrific incident akin to a plane crash. Decisions, individually sub-optimal, uninformed or even reckless, were sufficient to overwhelm all the technology, equipment, systems and processes that have protected more than 35,000 wells in the Gulf for over 40 years. And when the Macondo blew, there was nothing to stop it. Even the contingency blowout protector seems to have been compromised and not replaced.

But here’s the thing—when an airplane crash kills its passengers we don’t ground all similar planes. They keep flying, because people need to get where they’re going. People also need oil. How can we stop drilling?

We’re in a national war of words over the future of our energy system. Regrettably, our national leaders are turning it into an “either/or” proposition—the old ideas versus the new ideas—which is wrong. It can’t just be wind, solar, and biofuels versus coal, oil, and gas. The former simply cannot be produced in quantity cheaply enough to even approach covering our national need. Variable supply can never replace constant supply. We must have a combination of “both/and.” The president knows that; he’s said it on more than one occasion. So why does he change his tune now?

For whatever other opinions people hold of President Obama, all acknowledge his intelligence. But that doesn’t mean he knows everything. I wrote Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider because people like President Obama and his colleagues in the Senate and the House, and the previous seven presidents and 18 prior congresses, have lacked the knowledge to properly deal with our energy system. We had an energy nirvana going for us until 1973, the year of the first Arab oil embargo. That wake-up call stirred a siren call for “energy independence.” But all of the powerful and talented people who have led our nation since then have fundamentally failed to understand what it takes to get to a 21st-century energy system. They’ve misled with misinformation, manipulated with political symbols, and now they want to charge us high gas prices to pay for stopping drilling.

The moratorium under appeal following a New Orleans federal judge’s decision, unless cancelled now, will not last a mere six months. Such an estimate was conditional on a presidential commission resolving the future for drilling. Whatever it recommends, there is no assurance that we pick up where we left off. Meanwhile the rigs will leave the Gulf for destinations abroad, likely long-term assignments, so that the international oil companies can drill more oil to replace the decline of current production.

Through the rest of this year and the next two, domestic drilling might have opened up as much as a million or more new barrels of oil per day for domestic consumption. Instead, we will see domestic drilling decline just as the economy demands more oil. That means more imports to procure our daily rations.

It also means the return of triple-digit crude oil prices. We’ll see gasoline at $4.00 to $5.00 per gallon by the summer of 2012. Long before then, the nightmare well will be shut and the Gulf cleaned. The multi-year moratorium takes us to 2012 and a national election. Unnecessary pain at the pump is a weak platform to offer a nation of consumers.

The new energy system I propose can’t be Democratic or Republican. It must be American. It must transcend presidents and alternate majorities in congress if it is to have impact. It needs short-, medium- and long-term pathways. It has to include all forms of energy, technology for efficiency, increased environmental protections, and more infrastructure. We may not like how much it takes. And we may not have a lot of fuzzy feelings toward oil right now. But we can’t stop drilling. Doing so is what will truly make this Obama’s Katrina.

Plus: Check out Book Beast, for more news on hot titles and authors and excerpts from the latest books.

John Hofmeister is the former president of Shell Oil Company and author of Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). He is the founder and CEO of the not-for-profit Citizens for Affordable Energy, a public policy education firm that promotes sound U.S. energy security solutions for the nation.

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ALERT!!*** John Hofmeister on MSNBC’s Hardball TONIGHT 6-23
Wednesday, June 23, 2010@ 1:59 PM
Author: admin

John Hofmeister appears on MSNBC’s “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews TONIGHT 5:00 PM  EST, Replay at 7:00 PM EST

John will discuss recent developments in the “Blackwater Horizon” oil rig explosion and failed efforts to cap the well.

Chcek your local listings for showtimes.

Check back here for more information on John Hofmeister’s media appearances.


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ALERT*** John Hofmeister on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” TODAY 4:15 PM
Tuesday, June 22, 2010@ 2:42 PM
Author: admin

Today***: See John Hofmeister on CNBC-TV’s “Closing Bell” with Host Maria Bartiromo 4:15 PM EST

Please check you local listing for your CNBC station.

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John Hofmeister on NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday June 20 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010@ 5:24 PM
Author: admin

ALERT!!   *** John Hofmeister meets with David Gregory on Meet The Press THIS SUNDAY ***

John Hofmeister joins Senator Mary Landrieu, Congressman Ed Markey, BBC’s Katty Kay, Governor Hailey Barbour and Ken Feinberg, the appointed administrator of BP’s escrow fund, on this Sunday’s Meet the Press. Tune in to watch them discuss the latest status of the oil spill in the gulf, the government’s response, and the reaction to BP’s testimony this week.

Click here to find air times for Meet The Press in your market.

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John Hofmeister’s Media Appearances June 15, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010@ 5:17 PM
Author: admin

ALERT!***  See John Hofmeister on the following shows TODAY:

5:45 PM EST  FOX BUSINESS NETWORK “The Willis Report” with Gerri Willis

7:10 PM EST  BLOOMBERG TV with Susan Li

8:00 PM EST  FOX BUSINESS NETWORK “Cavuto” with Neil Cavuto

11:00 PM EST  BLOOMBERG-TV The Charlie Rose Show

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