When the executive director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, suggested in an op-ed last month that demand for fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal would peak before 2030, major oil producers cried foul, saying that their investments into carbon capture technologies and other climate efficient production techniques will encourage increased consumption with a cleaner footprint. Then they doubled down.
The past two weeks have seen two of the biggest energy deals ever, with ExxonMobil’s $59.5 billion purchase of the shale driller Pioneer Natural Resources on Oct. 11, followed by Chevron’s Oct. 23 acquisition of rival producer Hess in an all-stock deal valued at $53 billion. But a closer look at both companies’ spending plans reveals just how much, or more accurately, how little they intend to invest in lower carbon initiatives compared to how much they spent on their latest shopping spree.
Chevron spent five times more on its single Hess acquisition this year than it budgeted for carbon reduction investments from 2021-2028, while Exxon spent more than triple its carbon reduction investments budget for the next five years on its one giant carbon-spewing middle finger to the IEA and its peak-oil projections. Of course oil companies see Birol’s statement as a threat to investor confidence. But by the numbers alone, it’s clear that they aren’t hedging their bets on real carbon reductions either.
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