TORONTO, NOV. 30 -- Mobil Corp. Chairman Allen Murray today urged U.S. officials to eliminate the windfall profits tax on the domestic oil industry and open a major Alaskan wildlife refuge to exploration.
Murray told some 250 Canadian business representatives that the United States, the world's second-largest oil producer, should encourage development of domestic energy to stem its rising dependence on imported oil.
He cited other nations -- Canada, Britain, Norway, Nigeria and West Germany -- that have used regulations, including restructured tax laws, to encourage oil development. The United States has not, he said.
Murray said the profits tax, enacted in 1980 during the second OPEC oil price shock to tax the industry's windfall profits, was a "disincentive" to exploration and production.
Mobil earned $1.4 billion last year on revenues of $49.9 billion. The company, which is now based in New York, announced plans earlier this year to move its headquarters to Virginia's Fairfax County in the next two to three years. The company's marketing and domestic refining divisions are already based there.
Murray suggested several measures to spur exploration.
"The windfall profits tax should be repealed," he said. "A portion of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge ought to be opened for exploration. So should oil and gas prospects off the California coast."
Murray later told reporters those two measures would not change America's status as an importer, but "it just seems to me foolish not to try to find as much energy as you can -- it's normal economics."
He said he remained opposed to an oil import tax.
The wildlife refuge is a major subject of debate in the United States. The industry wants parts opened to drilling because production from Alaska's nearby Prudhoe Bay is expected to begin declining in several years.