Maybe it is not such a bad company after all, with a set of people bent on exploitation of the weak, getting its way, and undermining life on the planet. Deserved or not, mighty ExxonMobil is scoring points where they matter: the investment world, and the world of innovative scientific research.
The American oil colossus stands well-positioned, when measured against all comers, from whichever sector they dominate.
Guyanese critics may not like to hear this, but Exxon did very well, according to an article dated November 22, 2019 in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Exxon is one of the most innovative companies. But it still (mostly) shuns renewables.”
As found by the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University, it “is the only nontech company among the five most innovative in this year’s Management Top 250” ranking. The company’s emphases continue to be on how to make fossil fuels competitive, highly competitive and, to demonstrate the intensity of its seriousness, Exxon commits to “pouring money into making oil and gas as competitive as possible.”
Those are fighting words, as second place is not part of Exxon’s mantra. The engineers and scientists there “want to know the rules, then they go out and win.” That is all well and good, but angry Guyanese detractors may justifiably ask: how about pouring a little something more here in Guyana, which is inextricably tied to Exxon’s future plans?
Regrettably, Exxon has bigger elephants to hunt. A big-ticket item for the corporation is research. When its peers hedge their bets through diversifying into renewables, Exxon goes for broke, since it believes that “the world will need fossil fuels for the foreseeable future.”
As an example of the innovation originating from the minds and visions in Exxon’s management and research laboratory, “Exxon has developed special fuel cells to capture gas from natural-gas fired power plants; the cells can then produce power without combustion” for cars or buildings.
In addition, the company has some extremely valuable patents that make it the envy of its corporate peers, in and out of oil. Two of its patents stand out: there is one lubricant intended to improve engine wear, and another aimed at separating oil from water. The eventual commercialisation of those could lead to significant monetary results for the company.
Yet it has to get all the way down to the last percentage point, the last dollar, as if to furnish proof of unbridled corporate and capitalist greed.
This paper makes no advocacy for Exxon; instead, it views the company as a leader in the corporate wolf pack that devours emerging and vulnerable Third World oil minnows, such as Guyana. Yet, in the interests of fairness and balance, there is recognition first of the achievements of Exxon, and then there is wondering as to how the company may be persuaded to share some more with an impoverished nation such as Guyana.
Whatever the rationale (and almost all would be found unacceptable from a patriotic perspective), it could give back a few drops of financial blood to Guyana. Its very success makes that possible.
It has to be a few drops to Exxon returns and ledgers, when it could spend billions (US) in research.
Those few drops could translate to much here, much that could be spread out in so many areas of need. Without intending to dash the hopes of fellow Guyanese, the probability of Exxon seeing the light, and advancing with a generous handshake is not likely. While it did exceptionally through its research innovations, there are two other metrics from the scorecard that do not bode well for Guyana.
Interestingly, in two other dimensions of performance management, Exxon’s report card spoke volumes: in customer satisfaction and social responsibility, Exxon’s score was merely “average.” That means it is just like everybody else, every other corporate raider and reaper, which is not good news for this country. Translation: not budging.
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