BP exec likes Obama energy picks,calls for clarity

WASHINGTON Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:56pm EST

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WASHINGTON Dec 16 (Reuters) - A top BP Plc (BP.L) executive on Tuesday praised President-elect Barack Obama's picks to fill top energy posts but stressed that the new administration must clarify its policies on renewable energy and opening new areas for oil and gas exploration.

BP America Chairman and President Robert Malone said Obama's nominee for energy secretary, Nobel physics laureate Steven Chu, could put an emphasis on technology in energy policy.

"I thought it was an interesting pick and a good pick," Malone told reporters at a BP press briefing. "He's signaling the importance of science to what we do and I view that as a positive."

Malone also expressed approval for U.S. Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado, Obama's nominee for secretary of the interior, the department responsible for the leasing of public lands for oil and gas production.

Salazar has raised some concerns about oil shale development in the west and opposed some of the Bush administration's energy exploration policies.

Despite some of the Salazar's positions, Malone said he expects Salazar will be open minded if confirmed as head of the Interior Department.

Separately, Malone said it is imperative that the Obama administration provides clarity on renewable energy and biofuel issues through consistent multiple-year extensions of alternative energy tax credits.

"We can't have wind farm operators waiting until the eleventh hour to find out if they're going to have subsidy," Malone said.

Also, Malone called for access to the Outer Continental Shelf for energy exploration and establishing a pricing mechanism for carbon. (Editing by Christian Wiessner)

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