ExxonMobil pledges to slash greenhouse gas emissions

05 June 2018

ExxonMobil (Exxon), a frequent target of climate activists, is pledging to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The company has detailed plans to cut methane emissions by 15% by 2020. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that scientists blame for contributing to global warming.

Exxon further pledged to cut flaring by 25%, led by significant reductions at the company's operations in West Africa. Flaring, the burning of excess natural gas at oil wells, is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Exxon CEO Darren Woods described the methane announcement as part of the company's "longstanding commitment to improve efficiency and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions."

Operational improvements, including efforts to detect and repair leaks, have already cut methane emissions by 2% over the past year, Exxon said. Future programs to cut greenhouse gas emissions will target Exxon's refining and chemical manufacturing facilities.

Andrew Logan, director of the oil and gas industry program at sustainability nonprofit Ceres, said Exxon's methane emission pledge is a "good start," but "pales in comparison with the ambition" required for a low-carbon energy transition.

Logan's group has for years been pressuring oil companies to address methane emissions.
"Addressing methane emissions is one of the cheapest, most effective ways to address climate change in the short term," he said.

The International Energy Agency recently said the energy industry could use existing technology to slash its methane emissions by 75%. And the IEA said that 40% to 50% of current methane emissions could be avoided at no net cost.

Image courtesy of ExxonMobil