US’ Tillerson gets oil industry award, says he misses colleagues

US’ Tillerson gets oil industry award, says he misses colleagues

ISTANBUL - The Associated Press
US’ Tillerson gets oil industry award, says he misses colleagues U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has accepted an award at the World Petroleum Congress, hosted by Turkey this year.

Council President Jozsef Toth described Tillerson, who is from Texas, as “a man born with oil in his veins” before presenting him with the Dewhurst Award, named after the founder of the congress, late on July 9. 

The former ExxonMobile chief expressed his gratitude and said he misses “colleagues, partners and competitors” in the oil industry.

Tillerson said he learned he would be honored with the WPC’s Dewhurst Award before then-President-elect Donald Trump chose him to be America’s top diplomat and thought his trip to Istanbul to accept it would be a pleasurable interruption of a fishing trip in his planned retirement followed by a “leisurely journey back home.”

 “It didn’t quite work out that way,” he said to laughter from the crowd of oil executives and top government energy officials from dozens of nations. 

Tillerson arrived in Istanbul after attending the Group of 20 summit in Germany and a brief visit to Ukraine.            

“Energy is fundamental to economic growth and prosperity, it’s fundamental to lifting people out of poverty the world over,” he said, adding “that it requires massive investments over long periods of time and requires enormous risk-taking and risk management.”

Tillerson also made a pitch for the promotion of longstanding U.S. priorities around the world. 

He called rule of law and international order, respect for the sanctity of contracts and integrity “crucial elements” for success. 

“Whenever those elements are present, investors will make the massive investments, they’ll take the risk, and they’ll persevere through the challenges in order to achieve the objective,” he said.

He also talked up another U.S. priority that predates the Trump administration: European energy diversification and security. 

He noted that Turkey will play a critical role in weaning Europe from its dependence on Russian oil and gas supplies because of its location.

“It’s just a fact of geography that Turkey sits at the crossroads of vital energy resources along supply routes and routes to consumers,” he said.