After years of resistance, U.S. companies Exxon, Chevron, and Occidental Petroleum have announced their intent to join the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI). The OGCI is the joint venture of major international oil and gas companies with the mindset to curb carbon emissions and explore new technologies working towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. Commencing in 2014, the OGCI created a $1 billion fund for technological development to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Exxon and Chevron will each contribute $100 million towards this fund. The OGCI is presently comprised of 10 firms from Europe, Asia, and Latin America. With the addition of Exxon, Chevron, and Occidental in a few days, the OGCI will now account for approx. 30% of global oil and gas production and approx. 20% of primary energy consumption.
This turnaround in support of the OGCI is especially interesting for Exxon who has been confronted with lawsuits in recent years concerning climate policies and disclosures. Earlier this year; however, Exxon committed to reducing its methane emissions by 15% by 2020 and also made equipment upgrades last year at its shale business unit to cut emissions during production.
Coincidentally or not, these new members will become official on September 24, which happens to be the first day of Climate Week in New York City, where representatives from businesses, governments, and academic institutions will gather for an array of panel discussions, exhibitions, and seminars in an effort to propel climate action forward.
In a statement by Exxon CEO Darren Woods, he states that, “it will take the collective efforts of many in the energy industry and society to develop scalable, affordable solutions that will be needed to address the risks of climate change. Our mission is to supply energy for modern life and improve living standards around the world while minimizing impacts on the environment. This dual challenge is one of the most important issues facing society and our company."
With more awareness surrounding the shift to a low carbon economy, we’ll see if the addition of the top 2 U.S. oil and gas producers proves further and faster results.