Shell Oil Execs To Press the Flesh

Oil derrick"As an industry, we have not done a good job about educating people and talking about how gas prices are set," explained Shell Oil's senior media relations specialist, Darci Sinclair. So, over the next two years, Shell "will send its senior leaders on a 50-city 'tour'," reports PR Week. Shell president John Hofmeister and other executives will hold "one-on-one and group meetings, receptions, speeches, and other events with local chambers of commerce, rotary clubs, educational institutions, media members, environmental groups, government officials, Shell employees themselves, and others." The goal is to reach 10,000 people in total, in cities including Dallas, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Seattle, Charlotte and Honolulu. Like other oil companies and the industry group American Petroleum Institute, Shell is trying to counter public anger at high oil prices and "windfall profit" tax proposals.


In a [ follow up story] (sub req'd), PR Week reports:

[M]edia appearances, including one by [[ChevronTexaco|Chevron]]'s CEO live on [Good Morning America] on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, have been part of a broad effort by energy companies to explain just why gas prices are what they are. It hasn't been easy, they say. The massive profits enjoyed by the companies lately - [[ExxonMobil]], for example, last year posted the largest annual profit in corporate history - have contributed to what [Chevron public affairs executive Dave] Samson calls a very "emotional environment". ...

[American Petroleum Institute] CEO and president Red Cavaney says his group will continue with its public information campaign for some time, moving from the initial general message about how complex factors out of individuals companies' hands shape gas prices to more specific arguments, such as how "boutique" fuels, which are mixtures of gasoline that vary from state and state, contribute to rising prices.

"We'll point this out in coming months. If we didn't get the basic message out first, people would never get off those issues about the industry," Cavaney says. "After we've done that, we have the luxury of being more specific."