Emissions will be subject to reductions both at the company’s production sites and in its purchases of power. Greenhouse gas emissions in the production sector are due to be reduced by 15 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent and by 23 million tonnes in the rest of the company’s activity, including from methane emissions reductions (by 70-80 % of 2016 levels) and the volume of burning of associated petroleum gas (to be reduced by 60-70 %).
By way of comparison: ExxonMobil production emissions (excluding purchases of power) totalled 122 million tonnes in 2020, according to figures from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A further 650 million tonnes of emissions was linked to sales of fuel, but ExxonMobil is not yet prepared to reduce those.
The stated goals will require considerable capital expenditure by ExxonMobil: the company intends by 2030 to spend $15 billion on projects to reduce emissions. These include a hub in Houston for capture, storage and transport of CO2. By 2030, it will be able to capture 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. Ten other companies are to take part in its construction, including petrochemicals giants Dow, Linde and LyondellBasell.
Another project, Acorn, will be pursued in Scotland. By 2030, it will be able to capture 5-6 million tonnes of CO2, with its base at the St. Fergus gas terminal, one of the three largest facilities in Britain. The company also plans to Invest $400 million in the expansion of capacity for capturing CO2 at its facility in Wyoming (adding 1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent to the current 6-7 million tonnes per year).
ExxonMobil is the last of the “Big three” international oil and gas companies to announce its intention to achieve carbon-neutral status. BP issued an announcement in February 2020 and Shell in February 2021. Shell included in its targets not only emissions from production activity and purchase of electricity, but also from retail fuel sales.
ExxonMobil’s slight “delay” is at least in part linked to the size of its production chains in petrochemicals, which account for more than a third of its revenue. Raw materials for petrochemicals are oil and gas refining products (naphtha, ethane). Production of polymers is therefore paired with a large volume of emissions rather than production of gasoline, aviation fuel and diesel.