Exxon Mobil Aims for Net-Zero Emissions in Permian Basin

Exxon plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its business, but its goal does not include offsetting emissions from its customers, such as car and truck owners and airlines.,

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Exxon Mobil aims for net-zero emissions from its operations in the Permian Basin by 2030.

A flare burning excess gas at a well in Loving County, Texas. Exxon said it would electrify its operations in the Permian Basin and eliminate the routine burning of waste gas emitted from oil wells.
A flare burning excess gas at a well in Loving County, Texas. Exxon said it would electrify its operations in the Permian Basin and eliminate the routine burning of waste gas emitted from oil wells.Credit…Angus Mordant/Reuters
  • Dec. 6, 2021Updated 2:07 p.m. ET

HOUSTON — Exxon Mobil said on Monday that it aimed to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its operations in oil and gas fields in West Texas and New Mexico by 2030.

The announcement is part of Exxon’s previously stated plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its business, as activists and some investors pressure the oil industry to do more to fight climate change. But Exxon’s goal does not include offsetting emissions from its customers, such as car and truck owners and airlines.

Exxon, the nation’s largest oil company, said it would reach net-zero emissions in the Permian Basin, which straddles the two Southwestern states, by electrifying its operations, improving its ability to detect and capture methane gas and eliminating the routine burning of waste gas emitted from oil wells. The company said it might also employ “nature-based solutions,” which could include planting trees.

Bart Cahir, a senior vice president at Exxon, said the effort “is one of the most ambitious and wide-ranging in the Permian Basin.” He added, “Our people are working hard to help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the products that enable modern life.”

The company, which is based outside Dallas, said its efforts “may include wind, solar hydrogen, natural gas with carbon capture and storage and other emerging technologies.” It said it would use satellite surveillance and sensors on the ground to monitor for leaks of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

The company said its plans “will require the support of well-designed policies and advances in technology that increase availability and reliability of carbon-neutral power in the region, including wind and solar.”

Texas has long been a leader in wind energy and has more recently been adding lots of large solar farms. But the Republicans who run the state have often voiced a preference for fossil fuels and falsely accused renewable energy for a days-long blackout of much of the state during a winter storm in February.

Darren Woods, Exxon’s chief executive, said in a statement that the effort demonstrated “our commitment and support of society’s ambitions for a lower-emissions future.”

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