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Enron vs. Exxon Mobil: Polar Approaches to Energy and Public Policy

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 15, 2009

I have previously described Exxon Mobil as the anti-Enron. In an opinion-page editorial in yesterday’s Houston Chronicle, I contrasted the two companies in terms of both energy strategy and public policy.

More could be said than is in the editorial (reprinted below). Enron’s first fraud, engineered by Andrew Fastow, came with the purchase of Zond Corporation, which was renamed Enron Wind Corporation and is now part of GE Energy. (This complicated story about a “qualifying facility” under federal energy law is told in McLean and Elkind’s The Smartest Guys in the Room, pp. 166–67 and Kurt Eichenwald’s Conspiracy of Fools, pp. 142–44.)

Enron Energy Services, the energy outsourcing division of Enron that so excited environmentalists (including Joe Romm, now blogging at Climate Progress), was one of the company’s biggest frauds.…