Big Oil: Coming Soon to a Rotary Club Near You!

The American Petroleum Institute's (API's) efforts to assuage public resentment of the oil industry apparently know no bounds. API's Denise McCourt recently addressed a Rotary Club meeting in Charleston, West Virginia. "The oil and natural gas industry hasn't done a very good job telling people about energy issues," McCourt told the group. So poor Big Oil has taken "a little bit of abuse by the people running for office." McCourt told the audience that higher gas prices don't necessarily mean "atrocious profits" for oil companies. She compared what she said were 2007 profit rates of 7.6 cents per dollar of sales for the oil industry with 9.2 cents per dollar of sales for all manufacturing, except automobiles. Luckily, the reporter covering McCourt's talk realized that ExxonMobil just set the record for "the largest annual profit by a U.S. company -- $40.6 billion."


This great follow-up story from West Virginia's [ State Journal] makes clear that API has more than just talking points up its metaphoric sleeve:

The organization plans to visit the state Capitol March 4 with a traveling, interactive display that is designed to answer questions about the oil and natural gas industries. ...

During the March 4 display at the Capitol, visitors will be able to use three-dimensional displays to do things like position a drilling ship in the Gulf of Mexico, [API's Denise] McCourt said. The exhibit will demonstrate the highly technical nature of the oil and gas industries. ...

Those advances have made it possible to drill for natural gas in the rugged terrain of West Virginia, she said.

Anyone planning on being in Charleston early next month?

Proceeds benefit charity, but it's [ an API-sponsored event]:

[T]he 16th Annual American Petroleum Institute Chili Cookoff, which raises money for charities like the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Habitat for Humanity ... was themed "A Pirate's Life." ...

"Yaargh, it's really good," McKendree growled. "It's been brewing all day, aargh."