Feb 2, 2018

Under investor pressure, Exxon issues climate analysis

Amy Harder, author of Generate

ExxonMobil released today an analysis for how its oil and natural gas resources would fare in a carbon-constrained world.

Why it matters: The analysis is the latest in a string of moves by publicly traded oil companies in response to investor pressure to disclose the risks that action on climate change poses to their fossil-fuel products.

Highlights:

  • Less than 5% of Exxon’s total value is represented by oil and gas resources that “may not be attractive investments” in a world that cuts greenhouse gas emissions the necessary amount to keep temperatures below a 2-degrees Celsius, the analysis says.
  • Low-cost producers are likely to fare better than others in a carbon-constrained world, said an analyst who has reviewed the report.
  • “This may validate the company’s historically strict capital discipline relative to some of its bigger-spending brethren,” said the analyst, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as the report was just being released.

The big picture: There’s growing concern about the potential for oil and gas companies’ assets to become stranded in a world that drastically cuts greenhouse gas emissions, and in fact some environmentalists are pushing for this. Some oil executives reject this notion, but it’s nonetheless a key component of an overall debate about how fossil-fuel companies handle a transition to a lower-carbon world.

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