Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobil Keeps on Talking

by S. Tom Bond on November 23, 2012

Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobil Keeps on Talking

Commentary by S. Tom Bond, citizen farmer of Lewis County, WV
When researching, one may do “wildcating,” too, in the sense one examines places that don’t have a sure return on the time invested.  The other day I hit on a item that proved to be fascinating .  It was a talk by Rex W. Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation to the Council on Foreign Relations.  The CFR is primarily concerns itself with advancing governmental and banking globalization.  The fit of speaker to audience is perfect – both operate with high level generalities, not details.
The article (see below) is an almost instantaneous transcription of the introduction plus Tillerson’s talk and questions from the listeners.
The interesting way to approach the article is to view it as a myth, in the sense this word is used by sociologists and psychologists.  So myth as used herein is a story which people believe in, with out reference to truth or verifiability of the story.  The value of this approach is to differentiate Tillerson’s Weltanschauung (worldview) from the worldview of people experiencing shale drilling and the citizenry in general.
The introduction of Mr. Tillerson referred to a book by Steven Coll called “Private Empire.”  In the book Coll “refers to Exxon Mobil as a corporate state within the American state, with its own intricate web of international relations and, in a sense, its own foreign policy.”  This sets the tone for what followed.
First we note Tillerson’s repeated characterization of all opposition as ignorant. “Ours is an industry that is built on technology,” he says “it’s built on science, it’s built on engineering, and because we have a society that by and large is illiterate in these areas, science, math and engineering, what we do is a mystery to them and they find it scary. And because of that, it creates easy opportunities for opponents of development, activist organizations, to manufacture fear.”  Further, “  It requires a lot of education, requires taking an illiterate public …. and trying to help them understand why we can manage these risks…”  And “[the consequences] are not life-threatening, they’re not long-lasting.”  This is said with all the certainty of a critic of medieval village peasants who are afraid of the dragon on the other side of the hill.
So one wonders if he is unaware of people like Dr. Theo Colborn, Dr. Poune Sabri, Dr. Sandra Steingraber, Arthur E. Berman, Dr. Al Armendariz, Deborah Rogers, Elaine L. Hill, Dr. Marvin Resnikoff, Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Dr. Karlis Muehienbachs, Dr. Robert W. Howarth and….do I need to go on?  You get the point.  Are these people ignorant?  Or rabble rousers?
And by the way, who would be more reliable to judge about ability to “manage these risks” and “not life-threatening and not long-lasting,” the man who constantly flits from one ivory tower to another, or the person who hears, sees, smells and tastes what is going on in the shale fields?
A second major Tillerson theme is parsing “energy security” and “energy independence.”  The former is an adequate supply from what-ever sources, he says, the latter is enough to serve the nation’s need, obtained within it’s boundary.  There is no claim the industry will be able to do the latter – ever.  The former will be secure for a while, with the new technology, he says, but we will continue to get energy (energy = petroleum, in Mr. Tillerson’s use) from beyond our borders.  It doesn’t seem to matter where or how the U. S. gets it, however.  Obviously, the military, although unmentioned, looms quite important.  And “If you don’t like the people you’re buying it from, that’s a different issue,” he says.
Tillerson seems to consider Canada and Mexico as natural extensions of the United States.  At present they are our principal suppliers of petroleum , and  Canada refines much of it into finished product, too.  This view of greater North America doubtless sits well with the globalist CFR.  Actually, only 22% of U. S. petroleum imports come from the Persian Gulf. Those who deliver from that source are well paid.  A certain Saudi prince recently bought an Airbus jet airliner, equipped as a luxury hotel, for his personal use, paying $485 million.  Nice toy.
Also, according to Tillerson, “if people are equating energy independence to some kind of price stability or narrow price band, then they have to be putting that in a context of a very rigid policy and regulatory control around that system, because otherwise it’s going to continue to move with the global prices.”  Translated that means “don’t expect us to keep petroleum prices down.”

He does allow that “the energy mix is switching,” that is, so far the increased use of gas to generate electricity comes from using mostly gas in dual fuel – coal and gas – in plants designed to use gas primarily to meet demand peaks.  He says gas is a clean-burning fuel, divorcing it from the extraction end of the process.  I suppose that is because extraction takes place out where the illiterates live.
At one point Tillerson gets in a punch for the shale oil project of Exxon Mobil in Canada, even dirtier and more disgusting than shale drilling.  In another he gives his opinion that oil never drove the relationships with nations in the Middle East.  Further, cheap natural gas will rebuild American manufacturing and he manages to knock electric cars
Perhaps the most interesting thing in the talk, however, is how he handles the “white elephant in the room” of fossil fuel discussion, global warming.  “And as human beings as a — as a — as a species, that’s why we’re all still here. We have spent our entire existence adapting, OK? So we will adapt to this. Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around — we’ll adapt to that. It’s an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions. And so I don’t — the fear factor that people want to throw out there to say we just have to stop this, I do not accept.

“I do believe we have to — we have to be efficient and we have to manage it, but we also need to look at the other side of the engineering solution, which is how are we going to adapt to it. And there are solutions. It’s not a problem that we can’t solve.”
Take that, you tree-huggers!  Exxon Mobil and its friends will be around to save you from the damage they caused to the environment! And if that doesn’t work????

One of the ways social scientists analyze myth is to look for the utility of the myth to the elite promoting it.  That method yields results here.

REFERENCE: The New North American Energy Paradigm: Reshaping the Future; Speaker: Rex W. Tillerson, Chairman and CEO, Exxon Mobil Corporation, June 27, 2012. Transcribed by Federal News Service, a private firm not connected to the government, which specializes in quick transcriptions for news release.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Gale Simplicio November 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I think it’s interesting that for Mr. Tillerson, the only science appears to be math and engineering. He seems to be – dare I use the word- ignorant of biology. The disruption to all biological systems that are, and will be caused by the changing climate, are not an engineering problem. And if he really respects math so much, he should check out Bill McKibben’s “Do The Math” tour at


Yuri Gorby November 26, 2012 at 10:43 am

So what technology do they propose to install to protect people who are currently being poisoned by living within a mile of well pads, compressor stations and cryo-separators? This past week I met people who suffer from chemical exposure simply by living near these facilities. Even when operating “normally”, the industrial processes release tremendous amounts of chemicals into the atmosphere. Those that are heavier than air accumulate and concentrate in valleys and low areas throughout the region. Our group was overcome during a visit to a man’s home near the MarkWest plant near Houston PA. And Joseph, the man we visited and his caretaker and friend, Jeanie, were physically and psychologically bereaved … obviously impacted by chemical exposure. We need to have President Obama visit the hundreds ….. more likely thousands who experience health effects from living near these facilities. This is an immediate human health crisis that needs to be addressed now before more people are harmed!

Please contact me if you know people who live within a mile of well pads, cryogenic plants, or compressor stations. Impact zones may extend many miles further in valleys that receive heavier than air emissions from facilities on ridge lines and hill tops.


Bob Schmetzer November 28, 2012 at 11:04 pm

RISK v REWARD. The christian bible quotes that what good is it if a man gains the whole world and looses his soul? The general population takes the real risk (loss of health, property, drinking water, polluted air to breathe, destroyed roads and bridges, pets, farm animals, and wildlife killed.) All the while the drillers and oil & gas companies take the rewards and share very little. The courts have made them pay back money for the gas that they stole and charges that should not have been deducted from the royality payments. They tell the public that we will be energy independent, yet they are building a raceway to export all of our gas to foreign markets that will pay more. Again,” WE TAKE THE RISK, THEY TAKE THE REWARD!”.


Sharron Burgess November 25, 2012 at 11:06 am

Subject: Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobil Keeps on Talking

This man is not only scary but a danger, because of his denial of the climate warming issue, environmental impacts and underestimation of the public knowledge and scientific knowledge of these issues. It seems to me, he thinks that any information that counters his quest for success is flawed and needs to be eliminated and replaced with the facts that favor his quest.

The arrogance he displays is similar to the arrogance of the top officials of other mega-corporations. What is evident in his talk is the impact the public has (which is now informed, not misinformed on energy, economical and evironmental issues) in demanding truth. Evidently, Mr Tillerson is not ready to handle this.

Sharron Burgess


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