Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum are joining a group of major international oil and gas companies in an initiative aimed at curbing carbon emissions in the sector, the companies said in a statement Sept. 20.
The move marks a U-turn for Exxon Mobil and Chevron. The top two U.S. oil and gas producers had resisted joining the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) after its launch in 2014.
Together with its three newest members, the group will account for about 30% of global oil and gas production and 20% of primary energy consumption, Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne said in a tweet.
“The addition of 3 U.S. companies gives us more impact to lead the industry’s response to climate change,” he wrote.
The OGCI currently comprises 10 firms including BP, Royal Dutch Shell, France’s Total as well as national oil companies of China, Mexico, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. The announcement comes ahead of Climate Week in New York next week, a global gathering of world and company leaders around climate change.
“We are pleased to be joining OGCI to work constructively on addressing the risks of climate change,” Chevron CEO Michael Wirth said in the statement.
The OGCI created a $1 billion fund to develop technologies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the sector as the world aims to shift towards a low-carbon economy.
Exxon in recent years came under fire from investors and faced lawsuits over its climate policies and disclosures. It will expand its investment in greenhouse gas emission-reduction research as part of the initiative, the company said in a statement.
Earlier this year, Exxon pledged to reduce its methane emissions by 15 percent by 2020 and last year began an equipment upgrade at its XTO Energy shale business unit to cut emissions during production.
“It will take the collective efforts of many in the energy industry and society to develop scalable, affordable solutions that will be needed to address the risks of climate change,” Exxon CEO Darren Woods said in the statement. “Our mission is to supply energy for modern life and improve living standards around the world while minimizing impacts on the environment. This dual challenge is one of the most important issues facing society and our company."
Rising oil prices have sparked optimism for EOG Resources and other shale producers after enduring a year of destruction in the oil markets, with WTI futures in the U.S gaining 23% in the first quarter.
The swing to profit in the first quarter also comes as Marathon Oil and other shale producers slashed spending and production last year.
The shift comes as Continental Resourcs is re-orienting its production portfolio to focus more heavily on oil, CEO Bill Berry told investors during an earnings call.