Exxon sees limited impact on business from climate policies
DALLAS (AP) — Exxon Mobil has told shareholders that it doesn’t think policies to combat climate change will have much effect on its business and that demand for fossil fuels will remain strong for decades.
In a report released Friday, the company does acknowledge that some of its most costly oil and gas reserves might not be developed.
Exxon’s report comes in response to pressure from shareholders who voted last May to urge the company to issue a report on the matter every year.
The shareholders fear that policies to limit heat-trapping carbon emissions will hurt Exxon’s business of drilling for oil and natural gas.
The shareholder vote followed the 2015 Paris climate agreement, which called for policies to stop the rise in global temperatures at two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Exxon said that even with that goal, the world will need to invest trillions of dollars in oil and natural gas to meet increasing energy demand from a growing world population and rising prosperity.
Exxon said more than 90 percent of its current proven reserves of oil and gas will be pumped from the ground by 2040 and won’t be affected by a 2-degree scenario. The company said some of its higher-cost assets may not be developed, but energy demand will allow it to replenish its reserves “for decades to come.”
Officials in several states accuse Exxon of misleading the public and investors on what it knew about the role of fossil fuels in climate change. Exxon has denied the claims and is fighting back in court against investigations by New York and Massachusetts officials.
Exxon Mobil Corp., based in Irving, Texas, released its report the same day that it posted disappointing fourth-quarter earnings, pushing Exxon shares down 5.1 percent.