Dec 13, 2022 News
…spending more on green PR and oil projects- says International Observer Report
Kaieteur News – Extensive analysis by International Observer , Influence Maps, has found that the world’s five super major oil companies, some of whom are operating here in Guyana, are spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year to trick the world into believing they are sincere in positions regarding climate change. The US-based think tank which provides data and analysis on how business and finance are affecting the climate crisis accused oil majors ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Total Energies and Chevron of utilising “a systematic strategy to portray themselves as positive and proactive on the issue of climate change” while there spending on public relations and energy projects tell a different story.
Influence Maps in its most recent report ‘Big Oil’s Real Agenda’ 2022 said that oil companies’ commitment to the climate agenda was found “to be inconsistent with the companies’ plans for capital investment in their business” and that it was “…misaligned from the detailed policy engagement activities of the companies and their industry associations on climate change.”
Influence Map said that following its 2019 edition of ‘Big Oil’s Real Agenda’, its latest report seeks to compare and contrast the public communications, business operations, and policy engagement of the five super majors. It found that across 3,421 items of public communications materials from the five companies in 2021, 60 percent contained at least one green claim, while only 23 percent contained claims promoting oil and gas. Claims highlighting the companies’ support of, or involvement with, efforts to transition the energy mix were by far the most popular type of green claim, the group said.
However, “none of the companies assessed disclosed the strategies that inform their public messaging on climate change, nor the resources dedicated to related activities.” Using cost estimates based on the number of communications and media staff the companies employ, Influence Map’s said its analysis suggests that the oil companies are spending around US$750 million each year cumulatively on climate-related communication activities. In contrast, only 12 percent of the five companies’ 2022 capital expenditure (CAPEX) is forecasted to be dedicated to ‘low carbon’ activities, the group reported. “Additionally, none of the super majors’ forecasted oil production appears in line with the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (as of Q4 2021), with several companies planning to increase oil and gas production between 2021 and 2026.”
At the same time, Influence Map said it found that “none of the companies have aligned their climate policy engagement activities with the goals of the Paris Agreement and retain a dense and global network of industry associations globally, which are highly active in their opposition to Paris Aligned climate policies.” The findings raise serious and persistent questions for regulators and the companies’ shareholders, as well as PR and advertising agencies, media, and social media platforms that work with the companies. Influence Map noted that as its analysis focused on the companies’ main corporate communications channels, it looked at the information communicated in their North American/European relations. Future research, the group continued, will focus on what messages the oil companies are carrying to the Global South. The company has so far made provided in the report, Integrated Climate Profiles detailing each companies’ public communications strategies, policy engagement, and business operations on its page.
Climate experts and other stakeholders continue to accuse large oil companies of talking the talk and not walking the walk on climate change; a matter that recently caused US authorities for example, to confront major US companies on their misleading PR, some of which were promoted despite oil majors like Exxon Mobil knowing decades in advance, the dangers of its operations on the natural environment, particularly the climate.
Oil companies this year raked in billions of US dollars following high crude prices that saw them making the highest profits ever. This has encouraged oil companies to pump more capital into the sector. ExxonMobil just days ago announced its five -year plan which it said carried “a sizeable increase in investments aimed at emission reductions and accretive lower-emission initiatives, including its Low Carbon Solutions business.” The company said its corporate plan through 2027 maintains annual capital expenditures at $20-$25 billion, while growing lower-emissions investments to approximately $17 billion. Apart from lower-emission technologies, the company did not say exactly how it plans to roll out its low emission strategy. It did say however that more than 70 percent of capital investments will be deployed in strategic developments in the U.S. Permian Basin, Guyana, Brazil, and LNG projects around the world. ExxonMobil’s operations here in Guyana have not necessarily supported its low carbon aims since the company had committed to no unsanctioned flaring but did so initially all through its Liza 1 project claiming a faulty seal on its gas compressor for the Liza Destiny. It was aided when the Government placed a fee on the company for flaring which one oil expert said acted more as an incentive than a deterrent since Exxon would still be able to make several times more money from the fee rather than reducing its oil production per day.
The company has also offered an “inadequate” environmental insurance scheme which experts say is small compared to the massive oil bounty that have befallen the oil company and partners in the offshore Stabroek Block. The placement of this massive insurance plan is kept secret between the Guyana government and ExxonMobil.
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