Tag Archives: chevron

Senators speak out for LNG exports, bring in big bucks from oil and gas industry

As the west scrambles for a geopolitical response to Russia’s play for the Crimean peninsula, advocates for the oil and gas industry have used the situation to redouble the push to export liquefied natural gas (LNG). Framing the issue as a matter of protecting a fledgling democracy and ensuring security for United States allies, oil- and gas-affiliated pundits, lobbyists, and politicians have begun banging the drum to increase gas exports as a way for the United States to win this standoff with its Cold War rival. However, approving more LNG export facilities is unlikely to have any effect on the current crisis as construction of terminals will take years and billions of dollars and there is no way to ensure that gas will go to Ukraine or any European country when it fetches a higher price in Asia.

Though increased gas exports would not likely score the US a geopolitical win in Crimea, it would help the oil and gas industry to increase their bottom line by selling natural gas, which is currently barely profitable to drill for, to high-priced Asian markets.

As Republic Report’s Lee Fang showed, many in the commentariat calling for exports as a solution have ties to oil and gas lobbying groups and Koch-funded think tanks. We wrote last week on former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who penned an op-ed arguing to use LNG to “[secure] regional independence from Russia,” without disclosing that his employer had been employed as recently as December as a consultant to Ukraine on an LNG project.

Members of Congress have also been speaking out on the issue and have introduced several bills in the House and Senate to expedite Department of Energy approval of LNG export permits. We found that some of the legislators most vocal about LNG and Ukraine have been the recipients of large amounts of campaign cash from the oil and gas industry – the five profiled below have brought in more than $1.5 million since 2009.

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New York’s Fracking Investments

A recent Buffalo News article about New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s shareholder activism through the state’s pension fund mentions his interactions with the natural gas industry. According to the Buffalo News, DiNapoli “has been pressing natural gas companies involved in hydrofracturing to provide him with risks of their drilling practices, the kinds of chemicals used and to take into account community opposition to drilling plans.” DiNapoli told the News he would continue this activism “regardless of what may still come to pass” as Cuomo poises himself to lift the fracking moratorium.

While the State’s considerable investment in fracking companies puts the comptroller in a good position to “pull corporate strings” with these companies, these investments amount to New York State’s use of public pension money to bankroll the risky and unpopular practice. Fracking, which in its high-volume and horizontal form is under a moratorium in New York, presents a significant risk to air and water, and has been questioned as a speculative bubble by insiders and energy analysts. Further, as pointed out in the New York Times, the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C., which guaranteed corporations’ right to make electoral expenditures with campaign treasuries (substantially financed by New York’s and other public pension funds), raises the concern that public employees are being forced to fund pro-fracking lobbying via mandatory contributions to the Common Retirement Fund deducted from their paychecks.

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Hormats salutes Chevron

Given his role in financing a genocidal regime, it is only fitting that Robert Hormats would salute the oil conglomerate Chevron as an example of “corporate excellence” in one of his first official acts as undersecretary of state (h/t Aleinad!).

Just a few weeks ago, EarthRights International also recognized Chevron…for enriching Burma’s military junta.

Chevron is a notorious human rights abuser and environmental villain. Check out its Crocodyl page page for a full catalogue of wrongdoing, or Kyle’s post on the company’s network to see why they get away with it.

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Chevron: The Bay Area’s Biggest Company

Research for the “Who’s Behind the Bay Area’s Most Powerful Companies?” project is now in full swing.  last week, I sifted through hundreds of Chevron-related press releases, financial documents, and executive board summaries in order to pull together the profiles highlighted below.

Note: I have made a special effort to call attention to Chevron executives and affiliates with specific involvement in Bay Area organizations, corporations, committees, and educational systems.

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Executive Team

David J O’Reilly: Appointed the chairman and CEO of Chevron in 2000, O’Reilly has been an employee of Chevron for nearly 40 years. Before becoming CEO, O’Reilley worked as Vice-Prsident of the Chevron Chemical Company, Director of Chevron-Texaco, and Director of Caltex. O’Reilly is a director of the American Petroleum Institute, a member of the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors, and the Bay Area Council.

Charles A. James: Joined Chevron in 2002 after serving as assistant attorney general in charge of the antitrust division at the U.S. Department of Justice. Previously, he was an employee of the Federal Trade Commission and a partner with Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in Washington.  James also serves as a Trustee on the board of the San Francisco Ballet.

John S Watson: elected Vice Chairman of Chevron’s board in April, Watson oversaw the Chevron-Texaco merger in 2000, becoming Chevron-Texaco’s CFO.  Watson is also director of the American Petroleum Institute.  He holds a degree in agriculural economics from the University of Calofirnia Davis and is a director of the San Diego Padres.

Peter J. Robertson: Recently retired from Chevron’s executive board, Robertson is also co-chairman of the US- Saudi Arabian Business Council. In terms of local involvement, Robertson is the director of the Bay Area division of United Way of America, an organization dedicated to improving childhood literacy and community improvement.

Patricia A Woertz: Despite recently retiring from Chevron, Woertz worked for Chevron and its subsidiaries for nearly 30 years, including Gulf Oil, Chevron International, Chevron Canada, and Chevron Texaco.  Previously, she worked as an accountant for Ernst & Young, a Big Four accounting firm.  Woertz is also a regular member of the Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in America list.  She sits on the board of directors of the California Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trustees of the University of San Diego, and has addressed the Women in Leadership Conference at the University of California, Berkeley.

Patricia E. Yarrington: became Vice-President and a Treasurer of Chevron on January 1st, 2009.  Yarrington is also a member of the San Francisco Economic Advisory Council, where she serves as a director and advisor to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.  Yarrington is also a Bay Area resident.

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