Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    Exxon Mobil Investing in Carbon Capture Technology, Not Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

    Exxon Mobil Corp, the largest U.S. oil company, is currently working on developing technology for direct air capture (DAC) of carbon dioxide. Matthew Crocker, senior vice president of product, strategy, and new assets in Exxon’s low carbon solutions business, stated that the company sees a clear place for DAC in a net-zero future. However, Exxon currently has no plans to invest in building electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

    DAC is the process of extracting carbon directly from the atmosphere, which is considered crucial in limiting global warming. The costs of DAC, however, are currently very high, ranging from $600 to $1,000 per ton of carbon removed. If these costs can be reduced and the technology can operate efficiently at scale, Exxon could become a major player in the DAC industry.

    Exxon’s investment in DAC technology is closely linked to its carbon capture and storage (CCS) business. CCS involves trapping carbon emissions underground. By leveraging its capabilities in CCS, Exxon aims to reduce the costs associated with DAC.

    Exxon extended a research agreement with DAC developer Global Thermostat last year to accelerate the development of DAC technology for full-scale deployment. However, the company’s investment falls short of that made by U.S. oil producer Occidental, which has made a final decision to invest in around 100 DAC plants across the country.

    While Exxon is actively working on reducing carbon emissions from its business and investing in CCS technology, it is not investing in renewable energy sources like solar and wind. The company’s focus is on limiting its own emissions and advancing CCS. Additionally, Exxon is investing in hydrogen and biofuels as part of its energy transition strategy.

    Regarding EV charging stations, Exxon believes that it does not possess the unique capabilities required to bring a significant competitive advantage to this space. Therefore, the company has no plans to invest in building EV charging infrastructure. Instead, European oil majors have invested in this area as part of their energy transition strategies.

    In summary, Exxon Mobil is investing in the development of DAC technology as a key component of its low carbon solutions business. The company sees the potential of DAC in a net-zero future if costs are reduced. However, Exxon is not investing in EV charging stations, focusing instead on reducing its own emissions and advancing CCS technology.

    Definitions:
    – Direct air capture (DAC): The process of removing carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.
    – Carbon capture and storage (CCS): The process of capturing carbon dioxide emissions from various sources and storing them underground.
    – Net-zero: Achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gases emitted and the amount removed from the atmosphere.

    Sources:
    – Nia Williams, “Exxon working on technology to capture carbon from the air”, Reuters
    – United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
    – Global Thermostat
    – Occidental
    – Deloitte study (unspecified)