As oil majors prioritize their own decarbonization goals, an internal document viewed by Bloomberg reveals Exxon Mobil Corp. is planning to increase annual carbon-dioxide emissions output by as much as a small country like Greece.
Exxon is one of the biggest corporate emitters of greenhouse gasses globally, and the leak comes as the Texas-based company’s rivals, such as BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, are planning, or have already begun, to shrink oil and gas operations to become net-zero on carbon by 2050 or before.
The internal document revealed Exxon’s stunning investment strategy of more than $200 billion in energy investments that would increase its emissions by about 17% through 2025. These investments are projected to drive higher cash flows and double earnings. However, much of the strategy was developed in pre-virus pandemic times and has yet to be revised for a post-pandemic world of lower oil demand and collapsing energy prices.
But the planning documents show for the first time that Exxon has carefully assessed the direct emissions it expects from the seven-year investment plan adopted in 2018 by Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods. The additional 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year that would result from ramping up production dwarfs Exxon’s projections for its own efforts to reduce pollution, such as deploying renewable energy and burying some carbon dioxide.
These internal estimates reflect only a small portion of Exxon’s total contribution to climate change. Greenhouse gases from direct operations, such as those measured by Exxon, typically account for a fifth of the total at a large oil company; most emissions come from customers burning fuel in vehicles or other end uses, which the Exxon documents don’t account for.
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