Mulva is even surprised at todays high oil prices but as expected, he says he has nothing to do with it and it is simply supply and demand. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s interview on Fox Business.

CONOCO PHILLIPS’ CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT & CEO, JAMES MULVA, TELLS FOX BUSINESS NETWORK THAT HE WILL CONTINUE TO DO BUSINESS WITH VENEZUELA

In a broadcast interview with FOX Business Network’s Neil Cavuto, Jim Mulva talks about his company’s relationship with Venezuela, the challenges his industry faces, particularly if there was a Democrat in the White House and his take on the high price of oil. Below are the excerpts. The full transcript is available upon request.

On departing from Venezuela:

“It was a difficult decision to depart from Venezuela because it has been a good experience, a good relationship but with the changes in the appropriation it was the best thing in the long-term interest of our shareholders. So, we’re working with the Minister and authorities in Venezuela to negotiate through an amicable settlement for our expropriation. I hope we can do that over the next several weeks or months.”

“If [negotiation] doesn’t prove successful, we can always go the route of arbitration, although we’d rather have an amicable settlement.”

“We operate in forty countries around the world so our situation is unique. We always look towards the long term relationships. We will continue to do business with Venezuela. We have a very large refining system in the United States and around the world and we continue to buy crude oil for our refineries so that relationship continues so we still continue to have a good relationship.”

On the challenge his industry faces:

“As a country, the United States, we really don’t have an energy policy and we haven’t for a long time. We have a challenge in the United States as we’re competing for energy resources. We need energy resources to continue to grow our economy and maintain and improve our standard of living. There are really four things we think we need in a national energy policy. Energy independence off of oil is really unrealistic. What we need is to have energy security to develop all sources of energy. We need more efficient use of energy. We need massive amounts of money dedicated to research and technology to develop all the new sources of energy and we have to do this in a way that addresses the climate change expectation.”

“We recognize that we can do better as an industry reputation-wise so all of us, our company and our industry are out there talking, putting a face on the industry, explaining the energy challenges we face. We’re much more willing to invest more money in the United States but we have restrictions in terms of access, restrictions where we can go and explore. There are tremendous amounts of resources that can be developed in our own country, which adds jobs. We also have a difficult time getting permits that we need to build more pipelines to add capacity and capability to our refineries.”

On the possibility of a Democratic administration in 2008:

“Whether it’s a Republican administration or a Democratic administration, what’s really important is that increased taxes and fiscal take is not going to be helpful. What we need to do is have more opportunities where we can invest in our own country and elsewhere so that the industry can do what it does best.”

“We don’t underestimate the difficulty [of a Democratic administration], but on the other hand, we certainly must make the case known to the American public the importance of the energy challenge we face. We are going to have to change our attitude towards access and investment.”

On oil reaching $90:

“I’m not surprised that oil prices are stronger than they have been in the past but I am surprised that we’re seeing $90 oil prices. Whether it goes to $100 or back to $80, I don’t really know. There’s a supply and demand situation, there’s issues with respect to currency and political risk. I’m not surprised oil prices are robust but I am surprised they’re as robust as they are today.”