Exxon’s climate strategy to become more transparent.

December 28, 2017

Exxon Mobil Corp. is moving forward with a plan to reveal to its stakeholders how it expects climate change will impact its business plans going forward according to a December 12, 2017 report from The Environmental Leader. Exxon’s announcement came December 11, which is part of its overall progression into becoming more transparent.

To that end, Exxon told the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it would inform its shareholders of the underlying dynamics that it said would have an impact on keeping temperatures below the 2-degree Celsius mark by mid-century — the level thought by climate scientists to be necessary to prevent the worst possible environmental scenarios and one prescribed by the Paris climate agreement.

Shareholders have demanded full insight into the financial and technological risks that Exxon faces as a result of a world that is trending toward lower CO2 emissions. Exxon is evolving in this respect. Once opposed to global climate talks, the oil company is now in favor of them and it has encouraged President Trump to remain involved in the Paris agreement. Likewise, Exxon is increasing the transparency into its business operations as it is relates to its climate strategy, little-by-little.

That is in contrast to a current investigation into ExxonMobil claiming it had duped its shareholders about what it knew and when it knew climate change. News reports have alleged that the company knew of the potential dangers as far back as 1977 and did nothing to warn its shareholders. Exxon has responded that the moves are “politically motivated.”

“It is not practicable at this time to estimate the impact these trends would have on the undiscounted cash flows for individual asset groups or any resulting impairment charges,” Exxon said in its most recent earnings release.

The context is more about its natural gas deposits and how this would impact earnings. But the company has said natural gas will remain a major part of its business formula, given that it is often discovered alongside the oil that it finds. Natural gas is not just increasingly used to generate electricity but also as a valuable feedstock in the chemical and manufacturing processes.

Natural gas has about half the CO2 emissions as does coal when it is used as a fuel source. As such, Exxon has come out in favor of regulatory actions to force oil and gas developers to capture more of the methane that escapes during the discovery and transportation phases. Methane is the most potent greenhouse gas emission there is. (Exxon was joined by BP, Eni, ExxonMobil, Repsol, Shell, Statoil, Total and Wintershall.)

What this means to you
Exxon has told the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it would inform its shareholders how it expects climate change would impact its business going forward as well as the underlying dynamics that would have an impact on keeping temperatures below the 2-degree Celsius mark by mid-century.

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