Dec 1, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Exxon sets new emissions goals for 2030

An Exxon Mobil Corp. gas station in Falls Church, Virginia.
An Exxon Mobil Corp. gas station in Falls Church, Virginia. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Exxon on Wednesday unveiled 2030 greenhouse gas targets as it faces investor and activist pressure to do more on climate.

Driving the news: They include a 20%-30% cut in corporate emissions intensity — that is, emissions per unit of output — and a 40%-50% intensity cut in oil-and-gas exploration and production.

  • It is targeting a 70%-80% intensity cut for the highly potent greenhouse gas methane and efforts to curtail flaring.
  • Exxon says it's on pace to meet its 2025 targets by the end of this year.

The intrigue: Intensity doesn't measure total greenhouse gas emissions, but Exxon expects the combined targets to reduce absolute emissions by roughly 20%.

Catch up fast: Exxon recently pledged to spend $15 billion over six years on low-carbon initiatives.

  • That includes its emissions-cutting efforts and plans to commercialize carbon capture, hydrogen and biofuels technologies.

The big picture: Shareholders overrode management last spring to elect three board members nominated by the activist hedge fund Engine No. 1.

  • The fund said Exxon needs a stronger climate approach and more disciplined oil-and-gas spending after years of rocky financial returns.

By the numbers: The oil giant is planning $20-$25 billion annually in overall capital spending through 2027, which is significantly lower than what Exxon envisioned a couple of years ago.

  • Exxon projects that over 90% of its oil-and-gas production investments can generate returns greater than 10% even at prices of $35-per-barrel equivalent.
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