Investors want Exxon Mobil to pivot. Here’s the oil giant’s new playbook

Oil giant Exxon Mobil, once the most valuable company in the U.S., is fighting for its future.

Over the summer, investors forced a change on Exxon’s board. Since then, the company has been speeding up plans for its green economy pivot, which includes carbon capture and storage.

Carbon capture is the process of capturing CO2 at its source. Companies can store the carbon dioxide permanently, but it is more profitable and common to use the captured carbon in further fossil fuel production.

Congressional researchers say U.S. companies have pioneered the technology worldwide, injecting roughly 68 million metric tons of carbon dioxide back into the ground every year.

Exxon Mobil recently announced a plan to increase the amount of carbon it captures from its refineries near Houston, Texas. The company says it has captured 40% of the world’s captured carbon to date. 

But another count from the investors at Engine No. 1 suggests that Exxon may be capturing less than 1% of its own annual emissions on a rolling basis. This count includes Scope 3 emissions, a much broader accounting of a company’s planet warming potential. Exxon Mobil publicly disclosed an estimate of its Scope 3 emissions for the first time in 2021.

The company told CNBC it will try to flatten its production of fossil fuels through 2025, depending on market conditions. More changes could come as regulators around the world zero in on climate.

But carbon market scholar Kate Ervine said that “the devil is in the details” when it comes to writing climate policies that affect oil and gas majors.

Watch the video to learn the particulars of Exxon Mobil’s plan to reduce its emissions.



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