Ellen Cantarow, who is chronicling the Frack Wars in a series of articles, has done an excellent piece on Lou Allstadt, former Mobil Oil senior executive.
Lou is critically important to the discussion for four fundamental reasons:
1. He knows as much or more about the issues as most people in the industry, but unlike the executives that are still in the industry, he has no hesitation to tell people the truth. And, unlike his former colleagues, no reason not to.
2. Lou’s well-considered concerns validate the less well-grounded concerns of others. Meaning, it is OK to be concerned about the hazards posed – because Lou understands shares those concerns; and, see #1, Lou knows more about the issues than most people
3. Lou knows that shale is the bottom of the hydrocarbon barrel. There are no oil and gas deposits below it. Everyone knows that once the shale’s gone, the hydrocarbon game is over. Lou is willing to state the obvious: that shale is not a bridge to anywhere. It is very much a dead end. Since it is a dead end, the last act, it is now time to move ahead with sustainable energy sources.
4. Lou is one of the few insiders to actually admit the obvious on global warming. Burning fossil fuels is a textbook way to cook a planet. And there’s no more potent greenhouse gas than methane.
Lou is more than just a retired energy senior executive. He was a merchant seaman, a pilot, a good father several times over, a devoted husband, an amateur potter and a competitive kayak racer.
And the least likely among us to think of himself as “important”
But he is.
A good man to have on our side.