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Exxon Mobil projects emissions increase from fossil fuel production: report

Exxon Mobil projects emissions increase from fossil fuel production: report
© Greg Nash

Exxon Mobil projects an increase in its carbon emissions from fossil fuel production over the next several years, Bloomberg reported Monday.

The news outlet obtained documents showing that the company estimates that annual emissions will increase 17 percent by 2025, or by about 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. 

The assessment includes what are called “direct” emissions, or emissions caused by the company’s direct activities like drilling for oil, and does not include emissions from customers’ burning of the fuels. 

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Emissions from burning fossil fuels are significantly greater than emissions from producing them, so the projection likely does not give a whole picture of what the company’s overall emissions will look like. Bloomberg estimated that incorporating this type of emissions would result in an even greater increase resulting from Exxon Mobil’s growth strategy. 

Exxon Mobil spokesperson Casey Norton told The Hill that the Bloomberg story was “wrong” and doesn’t account for actions that the company will take to reduce its emissions. 

“The emissions projection you cite is an early assessment that does not include additional mitigation and abatement measures that would have been considered as the next step in the process,” Norton said in an email. 

“As we increase production to meet the world’s growing demand for energy, we continuously evaluate our growth plans and work to minimize the resulting increase in emissions,” he added. 

Asked what type of mitigation measures the company is expected to take, Norton pointed to a document detailing steps Exxon Mobil has taken to reduce its methane emissions such as regularly doing leak detection and repair surveys and phasing out high-bleed controllers. The document said that steps like these have reduced methane emissions by about 36,000 tons since 2016. 

The coronavirus pandemic may also have an impact on the reported projections, as Exxon Mobil has had to cut its budget by 30 percent in April and there has been lower fuel demand due in part to less travel. 

Oil prices fell significantly this year, briefly reaching as low as negative $40 per barrel, but have partially rebounded since then. As of Monday morning, prices hovered around $39 per barrel, still below the approximately $50 per barrel prices in February.