Exxon Mobil Corp., under increasing pressure from investors and climate change activists, reported for the first time the emissions that result when customers use its products such as gasoline and jet fuel.
The largest U.S. oil producer said the emissions from its product sales in 2019 were equivalent to 730 million metric tons of CO₂, higher than rival oil majors. The data comes as the company has drawn the ire of an activist investor focused on its climate performance.
The so-called Scope 3 data is included in its latest Energy & Carbon Summary released Jan. 5, though Exxon Mobil downplayed its significance. "Scope 3 emissions do not provide meaningful insight into the Company's emission-reduction performance," the report said. (Report: https://exxonmobil.co/3hL6Tmo)
"Even to get to the point of having them disclose this has been like pulling teeth," said Andrew Grant at think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative. "Quite a lot of the rest of the world has moved on from the disclosure to 'What are we going to do about this?'"
Most major oil companies already report Scope 3 emissions and some have reduction targets, including Occidental Petroleum Corp., which in November set a goal to offset the impact of the use of its oil and gas by 2050.
Exxon Mobil said it made the disclosure due to investor interest.
"They’re seeking dollars against companies that are disclosing Scope 3," said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, a non-profit shareholder activist group. "I don't think they have any choice."
By 2025, Exxon Mobil targets reducing the intensity of its oilfield greenhouse gas emissions. It has not set an overall emissions target, though, so emissions could rise if production grows.
Last month, activist firm Engine No. 1 called for expanded spending and pay cuts, a board shake-up and shift to cleaner fuels. Its views are supported by California State Teachers' Retirement System, the Church of England, and echoed in part by hedge fund D.E. Shaw, which has $50 billion under management.
The universe’s most abundant element, hydrogen has been touted for decades as an alternative energy source to fossil fuels, but attempts to commercialize it for use in vehicles and industry have largely failed.
The announcement follows similar investments in renewable energy made by Chevron within the past week including a geothermal pilot project in California as the U.S. oil major expands its exposure in low-carbon technology.
The $8 billion Jordan Cove LNG export project in Oregon is one of several major energy projects that received strong support from former U.S. President Donald Trump but have since failed to move forward.