Exxon Mobil Promises Net-Zero Emissions For The Permian, But It’s Unsure Footing On The Climate Path

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Contributed date

January 5, 2022 - 7:43pm

Critical Commentary

Exxon Mobil has plans to reduce their emissions from their oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin of Texas to "net-zero" by 2030, cutting their entire upstream emissions by 40-50%. This means quitting the practice of flaring (burning off the natural gas that is co-produced by drilling for oil), stopping methane leaks from wellheads, storage tanks, and pipelines, and electrifying their drilling and pumping operations. Despite these plans, Exxon Mobile's stance in the energy transition is still ambiguous. For instance, they have not signed on to the World Bank's list of oil companies committing to quit all flaring by 2030. They have also continued to invest in new oil and gas projects, unlike BP which has started in the opposite direction, even divesting from oil gas. In the author, Ian Palmer's analysis "One headwind facing every oil and gas company is this: Making a transition to renewables entails 7-10 years to pay back investment. This is too long for profit-driven companies."  What this means to me is that market devices alone are insufficient mechanisms for motivating or organizing a transition to renewables. The trouble of climate change, or the Anthropocene more generally, is not simply fossil fuels, it is also the concentrations of power, and the cultural, political, and economic systems that support and engender these concentrations that must be changed.

Cite as

Ian Palmer, "Exxon Mobil Promises Net-Zero Emissions For The Permian, But It’s Unsure Footing On The Climate Path", contributed by James Adams, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 1 June 2022, accessed 17 August 2022. https://energyrights.info/content/exxon-mobil-promises-net-zero-emissions-permian-it’s-unsure-footing-climate-path