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Articles by Josh Dorner

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  • Big Energy promotes Big Energy at Houston energy conference

    Today's first panel focused on "supply-side solutions" and featured quite a line-up:

    • Dana Flanders, President, Chevron Technology Ventures
    • James Hackett, Chairman, President, and CEO, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
    • Thad Hill, Executive Vice President and President, NRG Texas
    • Robert Kelly, Founding Director, DKRW Energy LLC
    • Aubrey McClendon, Chairman of the Board, CEO and Director, Chesapeake Energy Corporation

    This being a veritable who's who of the old energy economy, I was interested to see what they would say when among friends, as it were.

    While it started out positive, with Chevron's Flanders citing efficiency ("a barrel saved is a barrel found") as the most promising new technology, things went downhill quickly as the discussion turned to the promise of oil shale and other unconventional fossil fuels like tar sands and liquid coal.

    For his part, NRG's Hill repeated the talking points the nuclear industry is aggressively pushing these days. He referred to the nuclear waste issue as "not that big of a problem" and cited politics as the only real obstacle. Somehow I think the people of Nevada might disagree. And despite shockingly serious recent incidents in Japan and here in the U.S. at the Davis Besse facility in Ohio, Hall claims that nukes have had a "phenomenal safety record."

    The most interesting -- and perhaps telling -- comments came from the head of Anadarko, one of the biggest oil exploration companies in the world. After some platitudes around environmentalism in regards to more drilling, particularly in the Arctic Refuge, he went on the attack.

  • Dispatches from the heart of oil country

    I am here in sunny Houston today with Carl Pope, our executive director, who will be addressing today's huge energy confab.

    Oil City USA is about what you'd expect. (I have some expertise on the subject, having briefly called Houston home a few years ago.) Instead of expanding public transport to its rapidly-growing Western suburbs, Houston decided that spending billions to tear down buildings and seize land within a thousand feet on either side of a 20-plus mile stretch of the freeway and expanding it to an even more obscene size was the better option.

    I can only assume that my daily cursing of the D.C. Metro's foibles resulted in the karmic payback of being forced to crawl along in my rented Prius at ten miles per hour or less today for the better part of an hour as I headed to the conference.

    (I spent this time dipping into my reserve of outrage as I listened to the President's press conference and his contradictory answers on skyrocketing gas prices and ridiculous attacks on the renewables tax package that the House passed by sizable margin yesterday.)

    I'll be providing updates on the goings-on here throughout the day. They cap off with a speech this evening from Sen. Hillary Clinton. If the barrage of campaign ads from Hillary, Obama, and even Ron Paul is any measure, the battle for Texas ahead of March 4 is pretty fierce and I am quite interested in her remarks to these energy heavyweights.