ExxonMobil

InfluenceMap Score
D-
Performance Band
46%
Organisation Score
43%
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 of support for climate action, however, these are often accompanied by caveats affecting the level of ambition or progression of emissions reductions. In January 2022, ExxonMobil reaffirmed its support for the Paris Agreement in its Advancing Climate Solutions Report, and stated support for 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. This top-line support for emissions reductions, however, is often coupled with statements that appear to caution against rapid emissions reductions. For example, supporting the need for 88873 '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. This appears to mirror statements from ExxonMobil's CEO Darren Woods, who, for example stated in October 2020, that “given the size, complexity and existing infrastructure, the energy transition will require significant time.”

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. Alongside this, the company has stated it supports federal methane regulation in the US and investments into CCS. These positions can be found in ExxonMobil’s Advancing Climate Solutions report, released in January 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'.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Evidence suggests ExxonMobil has lobbied negatively on a number of policy streams As reported by Forbes in March 2021, ExxonMobil has stated support for an economy-wide carbon tax in the US. The company also backed a carbon dividend plan initiated by the Climate Leadership Council (CLC) in its 2020 Energy & Carbon Summary. This plan, however, comes with a number of caveats, which previously included the rollback of the US Clean Power Plan. In 2020, the CLC carbon dividend plan continues to advocate for 'significant regulatory simplification'. This position is in contrast to scientific advice from the IPCC which clearly states the need for a range of robust policy interventions to deliver on the Paris Agreement’s goals. Additionally, evidence from leaked videos of senior Exxon 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 its 2022 Advancing Climate Solutions report, ExxonMobil stated its support for the US Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan and methane emissions regulation in the EU. ExxonMobil submitted a proposal in January 2022 with a mixed position on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed methane standards: 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. There is also evidence of engagement with non-methane GHG emissions standards. In November 2021, ExxonMobil advocated for weaker GHG standards for light duty vehicles in the US.

Federal lobbying disclosure reports from organizations/lobbying firms representing ExxonMobil also reveal the company lobbied on the Build Back Better Act through The Simmons & Russel Group LLC, and Ernst & Young LLP in Q4 2021. InfluenceMap cannot find any further disclosure on what ExxonMobil's position was on this policy.

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 2020-22, while also lobbying for the continued role for fossil fuels in regulations across the globe. Notes obtained by FOIs reveal that in February 2020, ExxonMobil lobbied UK policymakers for greater recognition of the role of fossil gas as a transitional fuel, without clear reference to the need for emissions abatement.

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, 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. Furthermore, in April 2021, 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 Australia, the company reportedly pressed policymakers for additional financial support for the refinery sector in light of the COVID-19 pandemic in October 2020, and argued for deregulation to encourage further investment into oil and gas exploration and development in Australia in a consultation submission in November 2020.

ExxonMobil has increasingly publicized its support for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies in 2021-22, including on its corporate website. This includes for both heavy industry and energy sector applications. However, ExxonMobil has not indicated the risks associated with a heavy reliance on fossil fuel used with CCS, nor has it clearly communicated on the extent to which CCS should be used within the broader context of the transition to a zero-emissions economy. Furthermore, there is evidence, including on Energy Factor in January 2022, ExxonMobil’s blog, 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. ExxonMobil is engaging on specific CCS policies, for example, it has supported 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 not disclosed in detail regarding its indirect influence over climate policy via industry associations. Although the company is known to retain memberships of numerous industry associations that actively lobby against climate policy (e.g. the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, the Western States petroleum Association and others), it has not produced a dedicated, clearly identifiable disclosure explaining any influence they have on climate policy through these relationships and alignment on climate change.

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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
24%
 
24%
 
29%
 
29%
 
45%
 
45%
 
57%
 
57%
 
39%
 
39%
 
21%
 
21%
 
47%
 
47%
 
42%
 
42%
 
64%
 
64%
 
42%
 
42%
 
29%
 
29%
 
52%
 
52%
 
47%
 
47%
 
27%
 
27%
 
36%
 
36%
 
28%
 
28%
 
48%
 
48%
 
41%
 
41%
 
48%
 
48%
 
57%
 
57%
 
52%
 
52%
 
46%
 
46%
 
34%
 
34%
 
68%
 
68%
 
41%
 
41%
 
75%
 
75%
 
58%
 
58%
 
60%
 
60%
 
48%
 
48%
 
52%
 
52%
 
46%
 
46%
 
40%
 
40%

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.