Mar 8, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Big Oil's carbon split on display in Houston

Illustration of an oil barrel splitting in half.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

HOUSTON — CEOs of multinational oil-and-gas giants Exxon and TotalEnergies gave remarks at a major industry gathering here that underscore Big Oil's differing diversification strategies across the Atlantic.

What they're saying: Exxon CEO Darren Woods touted Exxon's emphasis on carbon capture, hydrogen and biofuels.

  • "We are a company that has a real long history in frankly, manipulating hydrocarbon molecules to make products that the world needs," Woods said at the CERAWeek by S&P Global conference.
  • "And if you think about the technology that we have been using and will use in this space, it's is continuing to manage hydrocarbon molecules and leveraging the skills that we've developed over the years," he said.

The other side: Patrick Pouyanné cited TotalEnergies' moves into areas including renewable power, electricity services, batteries and EV charging that TotalEnergies and other European majors like BP and Shell are increasingly pursuing.

  • "The transition is a matter of two types of new products: new molecules, on which obviously an oil-and-gas company, some DNA, it's biofuels, biogas, hydrogen, and the strategic move we have decided that we will become an electricity and renewable producer and supplier," he said.

Of note: Traditional fossil fuels remain the dominant business lines of all the majors.

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