Tiller­son gets oil in­dus­try award

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

ISTANBUL: US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son took a brief break from his diplo­matic du­ties on Sun­day, re­turn­ing to his Exxon Mo­bil com­fort zone to bask in the glow of ap­proval from his for­mer col­leagues in the oil sec­tor.

Ac­cept­ing a life­time achieve­ment award from the World Petroleum Congress, the for­mer Exxon CEO rem­i­nisced about his more than 41 years as an oil­man, call­ing the en­ergy in­dus­try “mar­velous” and the peo­ple in it some of the most tal­ented in any busi­ness. He also took time to meet with Turkey’s pres­i­dent and for­eign min­is­ter. “I miss all of you,” he said wist­fully to his for­mer col­leagues in the oil busi­ness. “I miss you as col­leagues, I miss you as part­ners, I miss you as com­peti­tors.”

Tiller­son said he learned he would be hon­ored with the WPC’s De­whurst Award be­fore then-Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump chose him to be Amer­ica’s top diplo­mat and thought his trip to Istanbul to ac­cept it would be a plea­sur­able in­ter­rup­tion of a fish­ing trip in his planned re­tire­ment fol­lowed by a “leisurely jour­ney back home.”“It didn’t quite work out that way,” he said to laugh­ter from the crowd of oil ex­ec­u­tives and top gov­ern­ment en­ergy of­fi­cials from dozens of na­tions. Tiller­son ar­rived in Istanbul af­ter at­tend­ing the Group of 20 sum­mit in Germany and a brief visit to Ukraine. He de­parts Mon­day for what may be a week of gru­el­ing shut­tle diplo­macy in the Mid­dle East.

Growth and pros­per­ity

Tiller­son has been crit­i­cized for lead­ing Exxon dur­ing a pe­riod when the com­pany down­played cli­mate change and global warm­ing but nonethe­less ar­gued un­suc­cess­fully for Trump not to pull the US out the Paris cli­mate ac­cord. In his ac­cep­tance speech, he men­tioned the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, but spent more time ex­tolling the eco­nomic and so­cial ben­e­fits of en­ergy pro­duc­tion. “En­ergy is fun­da­men­tal to eco­nomic growth and pros­per­ity, it’s fun­da­men­tal to lift­ing peo­ple out of poverty the world over,” he said, adding “that it re­quires mas­sive in­vest­ments over long pe­ri­ods of time and re­quires enor­mous risk-tak­ing and risk man­age­ment.”

Tiller­son also made a pitch for the pro­mo­tion of long­stand­ing US pri­or­i­ties around the world. He called rule of law and in­ter­na­tional or­der, re­spect for the sanc­tity of con­tracts and in­tegrity “cru­cial el­e­ments” for suc­cess. “When­ever those el­e­ments are present, in­vestors will make the mas­sive in­vest­ments, they’ll take the risk, and they’ll per­se­vere through the chal­lenges in or­der to achieve the ob­jec­tive,” he said.

He also talked up an­other US pri­or­ity that pre­dates the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion: European en­ergy di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and se­cu­rity. He noted that Turkey will play a crit­i­cal role in wean­ing Europe from its de­pen­dence on Rus­sian oil and gas sup­plies be­cause of its lo­ca­tion.

“It’s just a fact of ge­og­ra­phy that Turkey sits at the cross­roads of vi­tal en­ergy re­sources along sup­ply routes and routes to con­sumers,” he said. Be­fore leav­ing the cer­e­mony to meet Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, Tiller­son paid trib­ute to the men and women of Turkey who stood up to last year’s at­tempted coup, the first an­niver­sary of which is Satur­day.

“It was on that day that the Turk­ish peo­ple ex­er­cised their rights un­der the Turk­ish con­sti­tu­tion, de­fended their place in a pros­per­ous Turkey, and we re­mem­ber those who were in­jured or died in that event,” he said. Tiller­son and Er­do­gan did not speak to re­porters at the start of their meet­ing that comes at a moment of high ten­sion in USTurk­ish re­la­tions, mainly over Wash­ing­ton’s sup­port for Kurds in Syria. — AP

ISTANBUL: US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son (L) re­ceives an award from Pres­i­dent of the World Petrolium Coun­cil Jozsef Toth dur­ing the 22nd World Petroleum Congress open­ing cer­e­mony. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.