Hess CEO: Mideast Unrest A Reminder US Needs Energy Policy

HOUSTON (Dow Jones Newswires), March 8, 2011

Hess Chief Executive John Hess said oil supply disruptions resulting from turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa are a reminder that the U.S. desperately needs a revamped energy policy.

Oil that costs $140 per barrel, as it did a couple of years ago, wasn't an aberration, it was a warning, Hess said.

The U.S. isn't investing enough in oil production to keep up with what the demand is expected to be in the next decade, he said.

A new U.S. energy policy, Hess said during the IHS CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, should call for more efficient use of oil, encourage more domestic drilling, emphasize natural gas for electricity production and reduce carbon emissions.

"We need to get serious about climate change once the economy recovers and people get back to work," Hess said.

The head of the oil and gas exploration and refining company also said the U.S. should consider implementing carbon taxes of $1 per gallon of gasoline and $10 per ton on coal used in power generation.

"While it would take tremendous political courage, these taxes should be given full examination," Hess said. "They should be introduced over a five-year period and only when other industrial powers take similar measures."

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