Transcript: Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil CEO

REX TILLERSON: Well, in alternative energy sources, we are investing in a lot of technology development. We have looked at all of the currently available technologies to develop and produce biofuels, solar, wind, and a lot of those technologies that are in use today and being deployed are fairly mature.

So for ExxonMobil to make a meaningful difference, we've really got to find a way to change those technologies to provide those alternative forms of energy on a much larger scale and at a cost that people can afford.

It doesn't do the consumer a lot of good to substitute an alternative fuel that costs $5 for gasoline that costs $4. And so what we're expending a lot of our efforts on are next generation of biofuel technologies, ways to produce solar more efficiently in the future to bring that cost down, and that's where a lot of our research activities are devoted.

And we're supporting a lot of external research activities through academic institutions to look for these kinds of breakthroughs.

CHARLES GIBSON: But I can quote you the percentage that you're spending on alternative fuel development...

REX TILLERSON: Sure you can.

CHARLES GIBSON: ... and it's really small...


CHARLES GIBSON: ... compared to what you're doing in stock buybacks. What's your -- what's your policy here?

REX TILLERSON: That's because we haven't found an alternative to invest in, Charlie, that makes a lot of sense for us.

Again, we're going to look for options that will make a meaningful difference, and to just throw money into an alternative source because it might be popular for us to do so, but wouldn't be a good use of our shareholders' money, would be irresponsible on my part.

CHARLES GIBSON: But isn't that where you need to be -- come back to this -- where you need to be, to be essentially ahead of the curve of where we're going in terms of energy utilization 20, 30, 50 years down the road?

REX TILLERSON: Well, again, where we need to be 20, 30, 50 years down the road is continue to be the most efficient producer and most environmentally responsible producer of oil and natural gas, to develop the next generation -- which is not available today -- the next generation of replacement fuels for the future.

And we're doing this in a number of ways, including things like our lithium ion battery film separator, separation film which is going to enable the next generation of electric vehicle and hybrid vehicles.

It includes things like our research into onboard hydrogen reforming that may facilitate the future of a new hydrogen vehicle, which has 80 percent higher fuel economy, using conventional fuels, and 45 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions.

That's where our research efforts are devoted today. And those things we believe will deliver in the future, but it's going to be a few years out yet.

CHARLES GIBSON: What's your gut, as a -- as a educated observer of the business that you're in? What's the alternative -- predominant alternative -- we'll use for -- for energy -- non-transportation -- in the home?

Pickens is betting on wind. What do you think?

REX TILLERSON: Well, again, I don't think there will be a dominant. The dominant energy source in the future will continue to be oil and natural gas.

But, in terms of the alternatives, again, I think it's going to be a mix of things, because there is no one alternative today that can deliver on scale the amount of energy that people require.

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