Texaco invests in alternative energy company

Texaco has announced it is to purchase a stake in an alternative energy company, while continuing to refuse to endorse the Kyoto Protocol as a means of preventing global climate change.

Texaco is to purchase a 20% stake in Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) for $67.3 million. The companies will work together to develop and bring to market ECD’s solid hydrogen storage and regenerative fuel cell technology.

ECD develops alternative energy and information technologies. The company also holds patents in materials engineering, solid hydride storage, photovoltaics, batteries and semiconductor applications.

“This agreement reflects our commitment to developing the next generation of advanced energy technologies,” said William M. Wicker, Texaco’s Senior Vice President. “We intend to be a company that is responsive to the changing face of the marketplace and the energy sector. While oil and gas will remain the dominant energy resource for the foreseeable future, hydrogen will inevitably become part of the energy mix, and Texaco aims to be a leader in the development and commercialisation of environmentally smart alternative energy technologies.”

The announcement comes only days after Texaco’s AGM, in which the company’s chairman and CEO, Peter Bijur, told shareholders that the oil industry can help reduce the threat of climate change. “We believe our industry possesses the technology, the creativity and the resources to develop and implement market-based solutions – including emissions credit trading, technology development and transfer and the aggressive pursuit of emissions reductions.”

Despite the fact that Texaco recently became the first major US oil company to leave the anti -Kyoto group, the Global Climate Coalition (see related story), Bijur made it clear that Texaco does not believe the global warming can be prevented by industry alone. “It requires the co-operation of industry, governments, the scientific community, NGOs and consumers. I do not believe that the Kyoto protocol as written is a workable solution to these challenges, but I firmly believe that the solutions are within our grasp. And Texaco intends to contribute to those solutions.”

Texaco’s interest in ECD will be managed by its subsidiary, Texaco Energy Systems, established to promote fuel cells and the conversion of hydrocarbons-to-liquids.

Texaco expanded its core oil and natural gas business in 1999 to include alternative energy technologies such as gasification, which converts coal, petroleum coke and other hydrocarbons into a synthesised gas, which is used for the production of electric power, chemical products and industrial gases.

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