Will you join them?

As discussed previously, Chevron has put up a website, willyoujoinus.com, which tells us that "the era of easy oil is over". They cordially invite us over for a serious discussion about the future of energy on their moderated pseudo-blog. I'm pretty sure that this is a cynical PR stunt, but it might be interesting to attempt to engage the folks at Chevron in a frank discussion about oil depletion. Already, somebody has posted about peak oil. So, are there Oil Drummers up to the task? Take a look at the community guidelines, set up an account, and "join them"!

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I've seen vendors present something similar to this in my job as a way to stay in touch with your customer's opinions. I work in Market Research for a fortune 500 company.

Basically the information they are collecting is less structured market research (no one way mirrors or long complicated surveys) or engaging a dialogue with customers.

The information can then be used in both ways - they might use your ideas or you might give them the complete range of ideas they need to fight in PR battles or in DC.

I think more communication is good. I'm going to sign up.

So how do I know the comments on the Chevron blog aren't employees of Chevron? 8)

Hah! You don't!

Except that one of them starts off "can't believe I am seeing this. Is this site really being sponsored by a major oil company ?? I will keep my personal opinions to myself about the oil companies, and instead give this particular oil company Kudos, for bringing this subject to light."

It would be especially Machiavellian for an employee to start off that way...

I wouldn't be surprised if they put some ringers on there - not to mention that the moderators are already paid by the company.

If Chevron were open and honest, they would show us their numbers.

There is no transparency here.
It's smoke & mirrors.

Show me the numbers.
Show me the numbers.

How close to Hubbert are Chevron's numbers?
When did they or will they peak?

Show me the numbers.

Super G,

I think you're being a pessimistic twat on this one. Chevron knows of PO as well as anyone, and if they're going to survive as a company, the absolute best way is to be a leader in alternative energy. I think this is one, albeit rare, situation where you see the "free market" doing what it should do. If I were an OilCo exec, this is exactly what I would be doing. People already look to the company for energy, why not tap into the restless few for ideas about how to guide the company ahead of competitors as the p**p hits the fan?

Sometimes you guys are too negative. Humanity has survived sh*t before, don't think it won't make a valiant effort this time.

- faithful reader Brian

Brian, we hope so too.

In the meantime, though, it's really rather offensive to call us "twats". We're trying to stay civilized here, so we may learn from each other for the time when civility is really called for.

Well, by twat, well I meant it in the most loving way. The post was just a bit negative, and I was trying to shed a slightly more optimistic light on the whole situation. I do apologize, and I didn't mean to offend anyone. As I said, I am a most faithful reader. Frankly if you buy into the whole die-off thing, there's really no point, and that gets a little bleak at times. I like to think of things in a positive way, because that's how you get others to listen to your opinion. If we all run around saying "We're doomed, there's nothing we can do." then people will do nothing, because we've already told them there's nothing *to* do, and people are lazy.

I am rambling, but I do apologize, I wasn't trying to offend anyone.

Chevron knows of PO as well as anyone, and if they're going to survive as a company, the absolute best way is to be a leader in alternative energy. I think this is one, albeit rare, situation where you see the "free market" doing what it should do.

The free market works to address this type of thing IF (and only if) company executives are truly and consistently rewarded for making good long-term decisions (and long term here means decades, not a fiscal year or two). Oil companies who are thinking truly long term are probably serious about figuring out how to address Peak Oil. Oil companies who are truly thinking about the next quarter are probably figuring out how to use Peak Oil to maximize next quarter's profits and the future be damned.

I suspect that you find both types in this industry (as in any industry), but sadly, the trend in most U.S. companies has been that the stock market punishes (harshly) the long-term thinkers and leaders.


That is true, but I think Chevron ( i.e., Standard Oil ) is a "long-term" company. They are rare, and they suffer periodically, but they do exist.

Of course, I am probably saying this because my grandfather the handyman, who I think the world of, always told me that Standard was the only place he would ever buy gas. Cheesy and crappy, but it does speak to the age of the company.

- Brian

the downside i see at the site is "terms and conditions"
how can you have a solutions based discussion when you read this.....
Information in Submitted Messages.....

You must not post any material to the Forum that you consider to be confidential or proprietary. Any material that you post will be considered non-confidential and non-proprietary. This policy serves to avoid potential misunderstandings or disputes regarding ownership of ideas.

You may delete any of your messages posted to the Forum at any time by logging onto the Forum and using the "Delete a Post" option.

License Grant
By submitting a message to be posted to the Forum, except as expressly provided in the privacy terms stated above, you automatically grant Chevron a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, edit, translate, distribute, perform, and display the message, or any part of it, alone or as part of other works in any form, media, or technology whether now known or hereafter developed, and to sublicense such rights through multiple tiers of sublicensees.

You further agree that Chevron has the right to use, without any payment or accounting to you or others, any concepts, know-how or ideas that you post to the Forum.

Oh, man, that's reallly amusing, imgt. I hadn't noticed the "terms and conditions" at all!

OK, now take that text and substitute "The Oil Drum" everywhere where the company name "Chevron" appears. I'm outtahere, no way I can post here anymore.... Can I say "fuck you" to Chevron here and not get sued? Happy, happy corporate world!

Have a good one....

What Chevron's terms and conditions say is basically that they can let the whole world read what you post, including translating it into other languages a la Babelfish.

Geez.  Why would you post there if you didn't want people to read it?  Get a grip.


The non-confidential and non-proprietary clauses also allow Big Blue to take any submitted ideas and go to the patent office. After all, with the new patent laws it's all first-to-file and can-afford-to-litigate...

But I say we should all jump on and hit them with things like; "If Chevron intends to be a long term energy provider, what will replace petroleum as your core business when oil is mainly depleted in 2-3 decades? Remember, 1975 was only 30 years ago..."

If we don't hit their site, we are losing an opportunity to open an eye or a mind somewhere...

I agree with Spooky. Think of it this way - maybe a big debate is going on inside of Chevon between people who want to invest more in alternatives versus those that just want to keep drilling. Let's try to tip the scales...

The "bottom line" folks at Chevron would love it if we all write in and say:

I will be happy to pay a premium for Chevron brand gas and I will faithfully go out of my way to find Chevron gas stations if my premium is directed to creating cleaner burning fuels and greener energy production.

In other words, we are agreeing to imposing a tax on ourselves even if our "representative" government refuses to do so.

The non-confidential and non-proprietary clauses also allow Big Blue to take any submitted ideas and go to the patent office.

Did you also miss the phrase "non-exclusive"?

Regardless, if the idea is revealed by an outside poster on the Chevron BBS before it is filed as a patent, Chevron would have a lot of trouble proving that one of its employees was the inventor.  Posting an idea on a BBS is tantamount to putting it in the public domain.  I personally don't have a problem with this.

I think some healthy skepticism of Chevron's motives is entirely healthy. This problem will be solved by the world’s governments, but should be identified by the key players/stakeholders including big oil. They've not done that up until now and history may prove it is late in the game now. They likely see this as a potential problem down the road while short-term realities temper their will to act. Chevron is conspicuously stopping short of identifying itself with Peak Oil and is not raising any alarm here. It wants to reserve the right to claim to be as surprised as the rest of s if the situation proves dire.

Those of us in the know recognize this hedging for what it is, but to think that a passive dialogue instead of a press conference confirming these concerns is going to change how the course of events will unfold would not be terribly realistic. This is indeed a PR ploy. Chevron clearly has concerns that a corporate identity as a oil company is possibly becoming unsustainable with consumers and is realigning itself as a friendly energy solutions company (whatever that may prove to mean). It is saying that "we are all part of the problem and we are the innovative leaders that will help the world get out of this mess. Don't blame us." That oil counter they have is significant for the emotional element.

Call me cynical, but if the cigarette and fast food companies hedged in this way 15 years ago, I think they would have been in a better position from a liability perspective and they sure would have benefited from the proactive image management. This site is an elegant example of managing perceptions for the long-term while acting out business as usual and the status quo. For me, the primary takeaway is that we are all on the right track here and that things may be heating up faster then some of us imagined. I'm also not at all sure Chevron has all the data they would like either. Their site is just too squishy to suggest they know how things will unfold and when. It does beat silence however. Pointing skeptics of peak oil to this site will give the concept more credibility to the naïve, but what we see as ominous, others may see as the free market at work and the benevolence of big business. It sure would be nice if that was true.