Chevron CEO says Biden vilifying oil should change course

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(Bloomberg) – Chevron Corp. CEO Mike Wirth called on President Joe Biden to stop criticizing the oil and gas industry and demanded a “change in approach” to US energy policy.

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(Bloomberg) – Chevron Corp. CEO Mike Wirth called on President Joe Biden to stop criticizing the oil and gas industry and demanded a “change in approach” to US energy policy.

There are no easy fixes to save gasoline prices, but the administration must work with oil and gas producers, Wirth said in a letter ahead of a meeting with the Department of Energy this week. Wirth will be one of several CEOs to meet with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on June 23 to try to craft policies that would help ease the pain at the pump.

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“Your administration has widely sought to criticize, and at times vilify, our industry,” Wirth wrote. “These actions are not beneficial to addressing the challenges we face and are not what the American people deserve.”

With the midterm elections just months away, Biden and his allies have sought to blame oil and gas companies for making excessive wartime profits in Europe and at the expense of consumers. He called Exxon Mobil Corp. earlier this month for making “more money than God” and asking energy companies to reinvest more of their profits into near-term production. Last week, Biden allies insisted refiners were enjoying high profit margins.

Biden mocked Wirth’s letter on Tuesday, calling the oil executive “slightly sensitive” and telling reporters, “I had no idea they would be hurt so quickly.”

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The president then reiterated previous calls for more refining capacity and higher oil production. “This idea that they don’t have oil to drill and extract is just not true,” he said. “We should be able to find a way to increase refining capacity without giving up the transition to renewable energy.”

Many industry players view Biden’s call for increased oil production as a drastic and frustrating reversal from the start of his presidency, when he canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, restricted oil leases and called for a long-term elimination of fossil fuels.

“You called on our industry to increase energy production. We agree. Let’s work together,” Wirth said in the letter. He said Chevron needed clarity and consistency on a range of policies, including leasing and licensing on federal lands, the ability to build infrastructure such as pipelines and consideration of costs and benefits when developing regulations.

(Adds Biden’s comments to paragraphs five and six)

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