ConocoPhillips announced Wednesday that it will follow other oil giants in increasing research for alternative sources of energy. It said it would increase spending on biofuels and other alternative energies to $150 million, or about 38 percent of its total technology budget of $400 million.
The amount is but a tiny sliver of ConocoPhillips’ capital budget of $13.5 billion. Details of the research plans weren’t released, but Chairman Jim Mulva said he wants the nation’s third-largest oil company to "to do things a little bit differently" than his competitors.
That’s no surprise. Concerns have been raised about separate research deals at Stanford University and UC Berkeley sponsored respectively by ExxonMobil and BP for allowing the oil giants to "greenwash" their images by associating with top-name research universities.
Whatever course ConocoPhillips takes, you can bet they’ll maximize its PR value.