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ExxonMobil sets new emission reduction plans; anticipates meeting 2020 goals

Highlights

Plan for 2025 cuts upstream emissions 15%-20%

Also eyes 40%-50% decrease in methane intensity

Flaring intensity to drop 35%-45% in same five years

Houston — ExxonMobil said Dec. 14 it has added reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the next five years to support Paris Agreement climate change goals.

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The major's 2025 greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction plan would cut upstream emissions by 15%-20% compared to 2016 levels, methane intensity by 40%-50% and flaring intensity by 35%-45%, the company said in a statement.

Its aim is also to establish industry-leading GHG performance across its businesses by 2030, by which year it would also eliminate routine natural gas flaring. In addition, it plans to provide Scope 3 emissions starting next year.

"These meaningful near-term emission reductions result from our ongoing business planning process as we work towards industry-leading greenhouse gas performance across all our business lines," Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer of ExxonMobil Corporation, said. "We respect and support society's ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050."

Scope 1 consists of direct emissions from an organization's activities under their control, while Scope 2 are indirect emissions from electricity that it uses. Scope 3 are all other indirect emissions from sources that an organization does not own or control.

Expects to meet 2018 targets by year-end

ExxonMobil anticipates meeting by year-end 2020 its climate-change goals set in 2018, which included a 15% decrease in methane emissions and a 25% reduction in flaring, compared to 2016 levels, the company said.

ExxonMobil, as well as a large number of publicly traded upstream producers, have established firm emissions and other climate-change goals over the past couple of years as the world gradually reduces its fossil fuel usage and steps up mitigation measures for any damaging impacts of those fuels.

This widespread movement, known popularly as the energy transition, envisions an eventual end to or vast reduction of fossil fuel use over the next few decades, coupled with growing use of vehicles powered by renewable or less polluting fuel sources and greater available mass transportation.

In the past 10 months, the energy transition has been accentuated by a severe drop in oil demand during the pandemic, as well as uncertainty over when or how much demand for crude oil will return.

The other big US major, Chevron, has also established goals to reduce equity net GHG emission intensity from upstream oil and natural gas. That company intends to slash upstream oil net GHG emission intensity by 5%–10% and upstream natural gas net GHG emission intensity by 2%–5% from 2016 to 2023.

It also aims to reduce net methane emissions intensity by 20%–25% and reduce net flaring intensity by 25%–30% from 2016 to 2023.

In addition, Chevron, as does ExxonMobil, ties GHG reduction metrics to compensation for executives.

Other climate-related measures

ExxonMobil also supports or is working towards other climate-related measures, including continued investments in lower-emission technologies such as carbon capture, manufacturing efficiencies and advanced biofuels. The company will also increase cogeneration capacity at its manufacturing facilities and continue its support for what it calls "sound policies that put a price on carbon."

Since 2000, ExxonMobil has invested more than $10 billion in research, development and deployment of lower-emission technologies. These include nearly $3 billion at cogeneration facilities that more efficiently produce electricity and reduce related emissions.

The company said it has supported the Paris Agreement from its inception and continues to support US government participation in the framework. The accord is a legally binding international treaty on climate change, adopted by 196 entities in late 2015.

It took effect nearly a year later. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably 1.5 degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels.