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mark nelson on growing pragmatic, lower carbon energy solutions

1 min read | august 15, 2022

Mark Nelson has seen his fair share of industry trends throughout his 37-year career at Chevron. He is currently the executive vice president of Downstream and Chemicals, a position he has held since 2019 after overseeing a broad cross section of our business.

Recently, Nelson shared his thoughts on the delicate balance our industry faces: lowering the carbon intensity of existing oil and gas operations while growing lower carbon energy solutions.

“Traditional oil and gas operations play an essential role in the future of energy,” Nelson said. “The objective is efficiently reducing carbon intensity, not simply eliminating an existing option and creating unintended consequences.”

what it means

Nelson points to the geopolitical events roiling energy markets as an example of what happens when pragmatic solutions are taken off the table.

“The fallout from the unfortunate events in Ukraine is a reminder that the world needs reliable and affordable energy,” Nelson said. “It’s also a reminder of how fragile the energy system can be despite its size.”

the big picture

Drawing on his experience from international assignments, Nelson believes that reducing carbon intensity requires a recognition of on-the-ground realities and a pragmatic approach. A clear-eyed view of those developing economies that need existing and ample energy sources today and where they stand on the path to lower carbon is critical.

“The energy world has been in transition since its inception,” he said. “We need to accelerate the transition, but we have to meet every country and every individual customer where they are.”

where it stands

As Chevron works to reduce the carbon emissions of its oil and gas operations, it is growing other lower carbon solutions, such as renewable fuels. Renewable fuels can play an important role in reducing life cycle carbon intensities in the transportation sector while meeting the world’s growing energy needs.

Our recent acquisition of Renewable Energy Group reflects our belief in the importance of renewable fuels. We also recently created a joint venture with Bunge to create renewable feedstocks to produce biofuels.

Biofuels are a lower carbon solution that can be manufactured and distributed using today’s infrastructure and today’s vehicles.

“One of our responsibilities is to partner with key customers to help them find lower carbon solutions,” Nelson said. “And if you do that in a practical way, there are some options right in front of us.”

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