Exxon Sets Canada Emissions Goal as Oil Giant Heeds Climate Call

Exxon Mobil Corp. set a goal for reducing emissions from its Canadian oil sands, the second time this year the world’s biggest oil explorer by market value published a greenhouse-gas target.

Imperial Oil Ltd., a Calgary-based subsidiary 69% owned by Exxon, will reduce the intensity of emissions by 10% over the next five years, compared with 2016 levels, the company said in a statement Tuesday. Oil sands are among the industry’s dirtiest assets.

The improvements come from new technology at Imperial’s Cold Lake operations, better reliability at the Kearl mine and greater energy efficiency, Imperial said. Kearl, in particular, has been a major drag on Exxon’s returns relative to peers in recent years.

Exxon has been a lightning rod for environmental activists since at least the infamous 1989 Valdez tanker spill off the Alaskan coast. Now in his second year as chief executive officer, Darren Woods was keen to stress at the company’s annual meeting in May that Exxon can only succeed by meeting the twin goals of economic growth and reducing emissions.

Earlier this year, Exxon set targets for lowering methane emissions. The company also has been looking to buy renewable energy in Texas, according to people familiar with the matter.

“It’s the mission of this company, your company, to create value for our shareholders by creating value for society,” Woods said at the annual meeting in Dallas. “And we do so by responding to society’s changing needs for energy, economic growth and environmental protection.”

By Kevin Crowley