Portfolio, Conde Nast's monthly magazine on business and finance, is generally full of good reads by top-notch writers. But that doesn't mean I always agree with it -- especially with an article in its April issue that takes a few shots at ExxonMobil
"Exxon vs. Obama" skewers the oil company and CEO Rex Tillerson for directing their efforts almost exclusively at the quest for oil and gas, rather than spreading the wealth in the direction of greener energy sources such as wind, water, and solar. For that reason, as the article's subhead notes, "The White House seems determined to make ExxonMobil's life miserable."
Here are my two key problems with the piece. First, I roundly applaud efforts to extricate ourselves from dependence on foreign oil. But the International Energy Agency -- the energy seer for most consuming nations -- maintains that fossil fuels will supply most of our energy needs for decades to come.
More specifically, Exxon itself calculates that by 2030, fossil fuels will still account for 80% of energy demand. Even if the company is as much as 20% on the high side, that still leaves the vast majority of our energy needs to oil, gas, and coal. On that basis alone, we need to keep the pedal to the metal in our ever-more-challenging search for oil and gas.
Second, I realize that, as the article points out, BP
Portfolio also notes that Exxon's stock has fallen 17% since the beginning of 2008. I wonder whether the editors have taken a gander at the relative performance of other stocks in a variety of industries since early last year. All things considered, it seems to me that ExxonMobil, the biggest of Big Oil, is doing a lot of things right. Whatever Portfolio may think, I still consider Exxon an especially good place to park your pesos in this topsy-turvy market.
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