Big Oil talks ‘transition’ but perpetuates petroleum, House documents say
A House committee, accusing oil companies of deception, releases a trove of internal documents revealing how these firms view the ‘energy transition’
By Steven Mufson and Timothy Puko December 9, 2022
Some of the world’s major oil companies remain internally skeptical about the “energy transition” to a low-carbon economy, even as they publicly portray their firms as partners in the cause, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post that a House committee released Friday.
The documents are part of a trove obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform during a year-long investigation. They reveal oil company executives dismissing the potential for renewable energy to quickly replace fossil fuels, while working to secure a future for natural gas. They also detail industry efforts to secure government tax credits for carbon capture projects that might relieve them of the need to drastically alter their business models.
The documents — many of them copies of internal emails between oil company officials — describe ExxonMobil’s efforts in 2021 to persuade big industrial firms and oil giants to co-sponsor a mammoth carbon capture project in Texas. Elsewhere, in one email string, officials at Shell discuss whether BP, Shell and TotalEnergies — a French oil firm — increased their carbon footprints by selling Canadian oil sands interests to more eager investors.
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A spokesperson for Exxon blasted the committee’s release as cherry picking internal documents to cast the industry in a poor light.