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ExxonMobil joins pledge for net-zero in oil & gas operations by 2050

Finally catching up with its rivals, U.S. oil and gas giant ExxonMobil has revealed its ambition to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for operated assets by 2050, backed by a comprehensive approach to develop detailed emission-reduction roadmaps for major facilities and assets.

The net-zero ambition is contained in the company’s Advancing Climate Solutions – 2022 Progress Report, formerly known as the Energy & Carbon Summary. The net-zero aspiration applies to Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions and builds on ExxonMobil’s 2030 emission-reduction plans, which include net-zero emissions for Permian Basin operations and ongoing investments in lower-emission solutions in which it has extensive experience, including carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and biofuels.

“ExxonMobil is committed to playing a leading role in the energy transition, and Advancing Climate Solutions articulates our deliberate approach to helping society reach a lower-emissions future,” said Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer.

“We are developing comprehensive roadmaps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our operated assets around the world, and where we are not the operator, we are working with our partners to achieve similar emission-reduction results.”

ExxonMobil’s announcement comes almost two years after its rivals like BP and Shell made a commitment to reach net-zero in its operations by 2050 and less than a year after losing board seats to activist investor firm Engine No. 1. The activist investor believed ExxonMobil was falling short of what was expected related to reaching climate goals.

ExxonMobil stated that the report provides details of how the company’s business strategy is resilient when tested against a range of Paris-aligned net-zero scenarios, including the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2018 Special Report and the International Energy Agency’s Net-Zero by 2050 scenario.

ExxonMobil also confirmed it is committed to helping customers reduce their greenhouse emissions by investing in carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, and biofuels. Bio-based feed and plastic waste streams provide further opportunities for lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Woods added: “We believe our strategy is unique among industry and enables us to succeed across multiple scenarios.”

To help reach net-zero for operated assets by 2050, the company has identified more than 150 potential steps and modifications that can be applied to assets in its upstream, downstream and chemical operations.

Initial actions already underway prioritise energy efficiency measures, methane mitigation, equipment upgrades and the elimination of venting and routine flaring. Further high-impact reduction opportunities include power and steam co-generation and electrification of operations, using renewable or lower-emission power.

The company expects to finalize detailed roadmaps that address approximately 90 per cent of operations-related greenhouse gas emissions by the end of this year, and the remainder will be completed in 2023.

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Initial steps to achieve net-zero by 2050 are included in the company’s plans to invest more than $15 billion by 2027 on lower-emission initiatives.