ExxonMobil Comments on Ethanol Blends vs. Bio-fuel Technology

| About: Exxon Mobil (XOM)
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On ExxonMobil Corporation's (NYSE:XOM) Q2 conference call, VP Henry Hubble discusses pros and cons of bio-fuel technology and blends:

Henry Hubble, Vice President

In the down-stream, we completed the transition of our facilities to meet ethanol blending requirements in the U.S. The transition was completed smoothly without any supply disruptions...

Mark Flannery - Credit Suisse First Boston

The second question is about renewables. There have been various announcements from industry participants about their interest in getting into renewables, be that in a corn-based ethanol in the States or bio-diesel in Europe. Do you have position on that? Are you looking at anything? What is your general take on those?

Henry Hubble

Most of the bio-fuels that are out there, in fact, there are very few that are economic without subsidies. The current generation of technology has limitations due to their costs, when you look at fertilizer requirements, land-use impacts, so our focus has really been that you are going to have to do things to reduce those costs, so we are investing in breakthrough technologies to find transportation fuel options that would successfully meet the supply requirements and demand challenges for the future.

Right now, the technology that is out there basically requires subsidies for the long-haul. We do not think that makes sense to invest in at this point.

We are a major buyer and blender of ethanol, so we are using those products. We also blend bio-diesel in Europe...

Daniel Barcelo - Banc of America Securities

A question on gasoline, if I could. You mentioned you are one of the larger handlers of ethanol. There are a lot of expectations for supply to increase almost by 30% over the next year or so. How an advantaged position are you in logistically to take advantage of that arbitrage, if indeed the ethanol price is advantageous to gasoline?

Also as it relates to gasoline, [inaudible] sulfur credits are also kind of running out. How advantaged are you in that position also to take effect of that?

Henry Hubble

We are generally buying on a delivered basis for the ethanol, and we are one of the largest blenders of it. We have had a long history, actually, of blending ethanol when it has been advantaged. So we end up taking advantage of that as it presents itself. I do not see any particular advantage that I would say we have over industry.

We are in good shape on gasoline sulfur and we are in good shape on the ultra-low sulfur diesel that is coming. I do not see any issues on that front.