ExxonMobil

InfluenceMap Score
D
Performance Band
47%
Organisation Score
44%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Energy
Head​quarters:
Irving, United States
Brands and Associated Companies:
Esso, Mobil, Exxon
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: ExxonMobil appears to be unsupportive of most forms of climate regulation, whilst simultaneously promoting an energy policy agenda that would accelerate fossil fuel development. The company retains an extensive network of memberships to industry associations that actively oppose climate-related policy globally.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Overall, ExxonMobil issues high level statements that state support for climate action. However, these are often accompanied by caveats affecting the level of ambition or progression of emissions reductions. In the company’s Advancing Climate Solutions 2022 Progress Report from January 2022, ExxonMobil supported the need to reduce emissions in line with the 2 degree Celsius goal. Further, in July 2022, ExxonMobil released an update to this report in which it supported the Global Methane Pledge. It has also supported "society’s ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050" in a consultation submission in March 2021. However, this top-line support for emissions reductions, is often coupled with statements that appear to caution against rapid emissions reductions. For example, supporting the need for 'striking the right balance in meeting all of society's needs', as stated by Darren Woods in December 2021, as a counterbalance, rather than a complementary aim.

In regard to supporting the need for climate policy, ExxonMobil appears to support a specific combination of policies, focusing primarily around the company's support for an economy-wide carbon price. ExxonMobil frequently states that climate policies should be “sound”, market-driven, and focus on enabling “key technologies”, as revealed in its 2021 Annual Report, published in February 2022. Again, however, ExxonMobil's top line support for climate regulation is caveated with cautioning statements about the need to 'let market prices drive selection of solutions', and minimize regulatory complexity and administrative costs, as stated in its Political Contributions and Lobbying Report, accessed in January 2022. In December 2021, the company published a page on its website stating that government policies related to the US energy industry should remain limited to promoting the free market, and described current policies as 'broad regulatory overreach'.

Federal lobbying disclosure reports from ExxonMobil reveal the company lobbied on the Build Back Better Act in Q1 and Q2 in 2022, however the company has not disclosed its position.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Evidence suggests ExxonMobil has lobbied negatively on a number of policy streams. While the July 2022 update of Advancing Climate Solutions Report appeared to support a carbon tax, other evidence shows that the company’s support is undermined by major exceptions it specifies for the tax. For instance, ExxonMobil’s support for a carbon dividend plan initiated by the Climate Leadership Council (CLC) in its 2020 Energy & Carbon Summary comes with a number of caveats, which previously included the rollback of the US Clean Power Plan. As of August 2022, the CLC carbon dividend plan continues to advocate for 'significant regulatory simplification' to replace other regulations. Additionally, evidence from leaked videos of senior ExxonMobil officials reported by Channel 4 in June 2021 suggests that ExxonMobil's public support for a carbon tax is qualified by the belief that a tax will never be politically viable, and it is purely a "talking point" as opposed to genuine support. Furthermore, evidence from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed that, in February 2021, Exxon opposed the introduction of a national carbon tax in the Netherlands in an email to the country’s Vice President’s Cabinet.

In terms of emissions regulation, in the July update of 2022 Advancing Climate Solutions report, ExxonMobil stated its support for the US Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan and methane emissions regulation in the EU. However, ExxonMobil submitted a proposal in January 2022 with a mixed position on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed methane standards. In this, ExxonMobil appeared to support extending the regulations to address flaring and supporting reducing methane emissions from existing sources immediately, rather than wait for state-level plans. However, it also appeared to support limiting the regulations to larger wells only, and does not support the EPA's proposal to allow local communities to monitor and report on large methane leaks affecting their communities. Further, on the methane leak detection provisions in the EPA proposal, ExxonMobil wrote a joint letter that did not support the proposal for frequent optical gas imaging (OGI) surveys, and instead stated that these surveys should be not required more than once annually. On non-methane GHG emissions standards, there is evidence to show that ExxonMobil advocated for weaker GHG standards for light duty vehicles in the US in November 2021.

ExxonMobil has declined to participate in CDP Climate Change Survey since 2018.

Positioning on Energy Transition: ExxonMobil strongly supports the long-term use of oil and gas in the energy mix and makes extensive use of social media advertising to communicate this position in 2020-2022, while also lobbying for the continued role for fossil fuels in regulations across the world. In the company’s testimony to the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce in April 2022, CEO Darren Woods appeared to support policies to encourage investment into additional oil and gas developments.

The company has also directly engaged on a range of policy and legislative items impacting the energy mix, including donating $1 million to oppose an Alaskan oil tax ballot initiative in 2020, and privately lobbying the US Congress against some climate provisions in President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill in 2021. In December 2021, ExxonMobil was reported to be opposing bans on fossil gas connections in new buildings in New York. A document obtained following FOI rules suggests ExxonMobil has lobbied in support of Ohio legislation, known as Senate Bill 33, which would criminalize protests against fossil fuel infrastructure, as reported by Drilled News in January 2021.

In the EU, according to an FOI of a meeting between ExxonMobil and DG Move (EU Department of Mobility and Transport), ExxonMobil appeared to try to persuade EU policymakers to promote low-carbon fuels alongside electrification for decarbonizing vehicles in April 2021. Furthermore, ExxonMobil reportedly lobbied to water down the focus on renewable hydrogen in the EU hydrogen strategy to focus instead on hydrogen generated from fossil gas in July 2020.

ExxonMobil has increasingly publicized its support for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS/CCUS) technologies in 2021-22, including on its corporate website. There is evidence in the Advancing Climate Solutions July 2022 Progress Update to suggest ExxonMobil is using its support for CCS to lobby for 'technology-neutral' policies, which treat fossil fuels with CCS on par with renewable energies. In April 2022, ExxonMobil submitted comments to US Council of Environmental Quality’s CCUS Guidance, advocating for a quicker and streamlined permitting process for CCUS infrastructure, without clarifying for what purpose CCUS should be deployed. On the website, when accessed in January 2022, ExxonMobil stated support for the enhancement to CCS Production Tax Credits (45Q) in the US. However, here it also appears to be asking for the removal of specific criteria designed to promote the construction of CCS, such as deadlines for starting construction.

Industry Association Governance: ExxonMobil has partially disclosed information regarding its indirect influence over climate policy via industry associations through its 2021 Climate Lobbying Report and has undertaken a review of 51 industry associations. However, apart from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the four associations in which the company had identified misalignment with, ExxonMobil has not specified details of its role in most of the organizations' governing bodies or influence over their climate change policy positions. ExxonMobil retains memberships to numerous industry associations that actively lobby against climate policy such as the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, the Western States petroleum Association and others. The company has identified misalignment with American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). While ExxonMobil has stated action to address misalignment, it has not conveyed the specific actions that will be undertaken to address them.

A detailed assessment of the company's corporate review on climate policy engagement can be found on InfluenceMap's CA100+ Investor Hub here.

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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
23%
 
23%
 
42%
 
42%
 
57%
 
57%
 
29%
 
29%
 
38%
 
38%
 
63%
 
63%
 
39%
 
39%
 
47%
 
47%
 
41%
 
41%
 
53%
 
53%
 
64%
 
64%
 
67%
 
67%
 
42%
 
42%
 
29%
 
29%
 
62%
 
62%
 
47%
 
47%
 
26%
 
26%
 
34%
 
34%
 
20%
 
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28%
 
28%
 
47%
 
47%
 
52%
 
52%
 
40%
 
40%
 
53%
 
53%
 
57%
 
57%
 
52%
 
52%
 
46%
 
46%
 
41%
 
41%
 
34%
 
34%
 
60%
 
60%
 
51%
 
51%
 
46%
 
46%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.