Shell Head Sees "Astounding" Biofuels Interest


One of the U.S.' biggest energy meetings is underway in Houston this morning: Big Oil CEOs and industry insiders are gathering at the Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) annnual conference to talk about petroleum -- and its alternatives.

CNBC's Sharon Epperson reported from the conference, where she spoke to Shell Oil President John Hofmeister about the balance between being a corporate "rock star" or a "punching bag." While many players are content to rub shoulders with other executives and politicians, Hofmeister is determined to "get the message out to Americans" about crucial energy issues. In an interview on " Morning Call" he said that his team has been to "25 cities," and has discovered that Americans "care deeply about their energy" -- and its limitations and dangers, such as "this global warming question."

Hoftmeister says U.S. consumers are far from parochial, declaring that "the enormous interest in biofuels has been astounding." He concedes what many already suspect -- that America's economy is going to be "based on oil and gas for a long time to come" -- but maintains that while consumers "do accept that" harsh reality, there is an "exciting" realization that energy companies are, at least, exploring the alternatives.