Shares of the Houston-based company rose 2% before the market opened Friday. Photo via exxonmobil.com

ExxonMobil's fourth-quarter revenue and profits declined along with the price of oil, and the energy giant was weighed down by a hefty impairment charge tied to regulatory issues in California. Still, it posted a healthy adjusted profit and the company raised its quarterly dividend.

Shares of the Houston-based company rose 2% before the market opened Friday.

Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 declined to $84.34 billion from $95.43 billion. That fell short of the $91.81 billion that analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research expected.

Exxon earned $7.63 billion, or $1.91 per share, for the quarter. A year earlier, it earned $12.75 billion, or $2.25 per share.

The current quarter included a $2.3 billion impairment charge of which $2 billion related to regulatory obstacles in California that have prevented production and distribution assets from coming back online.

Excluding the charge and other items, earnings were $2.48 per share.

Analysts were calling for earnings of $2.21 per share. Exxon does not adjust its reported results based on one-time events such as asset sales.

The Spring, Texas-based company boosted its quarterly dividend 4% to 95 cents per share.

Exxon went on a bit of a shopping spree last year with oil prices surging.

In July, the company said it would pay $4.9 billion for Denbury Resources, an oil and gas producer that has entered the business of capturing and storing carbon and stands to benefit from changes in U.S. climate policy.

In October Exxon topped that deal by announcing that it would buy shale operator Pioneer Natural Resources for $60 billion. Two months later, the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces federal antitrust law, asked for additional information from the companies about the proposed deal. The request is a step the agency takes when reviewing whether a merger could be anticompetitive under U.S. law. Pioneer disclosed the request in a filing Tuesday.

Elevated levels of cash for all big producers drove a massive consolidation in the energy sector. In October Chevron said it would buy Hess Corp. for $53 billion.

Chevron also reported its financial results Friday, posting a fourth-quarter adjusted profit of $3.45 per share on revenue of $47.18 billion. Wall Street was calling for a profit of $3.29 per share on revenue of $52.59 billion. Its stock climbed slightly in premarket.

The San Ramon, California-based company said both U.S. and worldwide annual production hit a record. Chevron's board approved an increase in the quarterly dividend to $1.63 per share, up 8%.

On Thursday, Shell plc reported an adjusted profit of $2.22 for the fourth quarter, with revenue totaling $80.13 billion. Analysts predicted a profit of $1.94 per share. Shell's stock edged slightly higher before the market open.

Oil markets are being stretched by cutbacks in oil production from Saudi Arabia and Russia, and the war between Israel and Hamas still potentially runs the risk of igniting a broader conflict in the Middle East. While attacks on Israel do not disrupt global oil supply, according to an analysis by the U.S Energy Information Administration, “they raise the potential for oil supply disruptions and higher oil prices.”

ExxonMobil has annouonced how it plans to reduce its carbon footprint. Photo via exxonmobil.com

ExxonMobil updates corporate plan that aims to lower emissions

future focused

ExxonMobil has updated its corporate plan through 2027, which will reflect their continued strategy to provide the products that work towards lowering emissions.

ExxonMobil is pursuing more than $20 billion of lower-emissions opportunities through 2027. The $20 billion request represents the third increase in the last three years, and is in addition to the company’s recent $5 billion all-stock acquisition of Denbury. Denbury helped expand carbon capture and storage opportunities through access to the largest CO2 pipeline network in the United States.

The portfolio will include opportunities in lithium, hydrogen, biofuels, and carbon capture and storage. The company is expecting that in aggregate it is expected to generate returns of approximately 15 percent and could potentially reduce third-party emissions by more than 50 million tons per annum (MTA) by 2030, which aligns with the company’s goals to combat climate change.

The company’s Low Carbon Solutions business reduces consumer’s greenhouse gas emissions, and will get approximately 50 percent of the planned investments support to help build this core part of ExxonMobil’s goal. The balance of the company’s low carbon capital will be used to reduce its own emissions, which will support its 2030 emission reduction plans and its 2050 Scope 1 and 2 net-zero ambition.

In addition, they are developing a leading position in lithium by fully leveraging its upstream skills in geoscience, reservoir management, efficient drilling, fluid processing, and extraction to separate lithium from brine. The company’s first phase of lithium production in southwest Arkansas is currently underway with first production is expected in 2027, and possible global expansion of the project. ExxonMobil aims to produce enough lithium to supply the manufacturing needs of approximately 1 million EVs per year by 2030.

“We continue to see more opportunities to harness our technology, scale, and capabilities to implement real solutions to lower emissions and to profitably grow our Low Carbon Solutions business,” Darren Woods, chairman and CEO, says in a news release. “Success in accelerating emission reductions requires the development of nascent markets. We need technology-neutral durable policy support, transparent carbon pricing and accounting, and ultimately, customer commitments to support increased investment. We’re actively advocating for each of these areas so we can grow a profitable, and ultimately large, low carbon business.”

In the Permian Basin, ExxonMobil is on track to reach net-zero emissions for unconventional operations by 2030. They expect to leverage its Permian greenhouse gas reductions plans to accelerate Pioneer’s net-zero ambition by 15 years (2035 from 2050.)

Recently, ExxonMobil and Pioneer Natural Resources announced an agreement for ExxonMobil to acquire Pioneer, which is an all-stock transaction valued at $59.5 billion, or $253 per share, according to ExxonMobil’s closing price on October 5, 2023. The merger combines Pioneer’s more than 850,000 net acres in the Midland Basin with ExxonMobil’s 570,000 net acres in the Delaware and Midland Basins, of which the companies will have an estimated 16 billion barrels of oil equivalent resource in the Permian.

The plan also intends to deliver $6 billion in additional structural cost reductions by the end of 2027, which should bring the total structural cost savings to $15 billion compared to 2019. Upstream earnings potential is expected to more than double by 2027 versus 2019, which is attributed to investments in high-return, low-cost-of-supply projects.

Other plan highlights included:

  • Expecting capital investments to generate average returns of around 30 percent, with payback periods less than 10 years for greater than 90 percent of the capex.
  • Generated $9 billion in structural cost savings with $6 billion more expected by 2027.
  • Increased pace of share repurchases to $20 billion per year from the Pioneer close through 2025.
  • Oil and gas production in 2024 to be about 3.8 million oil-equivalent barrels per day, rising to about 4.2 million oil-equivalent barrels per day by 2027.
  • Product Solutions is “leveraging scale and technology advantages” to nearly triple earnings potential by 2027 versus 2019.
The Houston-based executive makes the list of along with John Kerry, Bill Gates, and more. Photo via exxonmobil.com

ExxonMobil’s Low Carbon Solution president makes inaugural TIME100 Climate list

big praise

A Houston energy executive has made the cut on an inaugural ranking of top climate action leaders.

TIME magazine’s first-ever TIME100 Climate list, which highlights “100 of the world’s most influential leaders driving climate action in business,” and ExxonMobil’s president of Low Carbon Solution business Dan Ammann has made it onto the list.

“The real credit goes to the ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions team for the progress we’ve made so far,“ Amann says in a LinkedIn post. “It’s great to see the world recognizing that ExxonMobil has a major role to play in accelerating the world’s path to net zero.”

The list also includes John Kerry, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate; Bill Gates, founder of Breakthrough Energy Ventures; and others.

Some of ExxonMobil’s recent highlights include the announcement of a plan to become a leading supplier of lithium to support electric vehicles, reaching a new milestone in the volume of CO2 emissions that the company agreed to store for industrial customers along the U.S. Gulf Coast – up to 5 million metric tons per year, expanded ability to further reduce emissions by acquiring the largest CO2 pipeline network in the U.S.C, and working on building the world’s largest low-carbon hydrogen plant in Baytown, which is outside of Houston.

“It’s great to be included in this prestigious list and I’m proud of the team’s efforts to advance real solutions that will help reduce the world’s emissions,” Ammann says in ExxonMobil's news release.

He joined ExxonMobil in 2022 following a career in Silicon Valley as CEO of Cruise, as well as stops in Detroit as president of General Motors and on Wall Street when he was managing director at Morgan Stanley.

The rig stands 225 feet tall and extends 8,000 feet below the subsurface. Photo via exxonmobil.com

ExxonMobil breaks ground on Texas carbon dioxide storage project

digging in

ExxonMobil announced this month that it has officially broken ground on a groundbreaking carbon dioxide storage site.

According to a release from the company, a new rig is currently being used to gather information about an underground site in Southeast Texas. The rig stands 225 feet tall, but more importantly extends 8,000 feet below the subsurface to investigate if the site is a safe place to store carbon underground.

“Everyone’s excited about this appraisal well because we’re literally breaking ground on a new chapter of our work to help reduce industrial emissions,” Joe Colletti, who oversees carbon capture and storage development along the Gulf Coast for Exxon, says in a statement.

Exxon plans to move the rig to other sites in the Gulf Coast in the future for clients Nucor Corp., CF Industries and Linde.

In the last year, Exxon has made agreements with these regional companies to store carbon captured from their operations.

  • Exxon agreed to transport and permanently store up to 2.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year from Linde’s hydrogen production facility in Beaumont, Texas when it launches in 2025.
  • Exxon agreed to store up to 2 million metric tons per year of CO2 captured from CF Industries’ ammonia plant in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, starting in 2025.
  • Exxon agreed to capture, transport and store up to 800,000 metric tons per year of CO2 from Nucor’s direct reduced iron manufacturing site in Convent, Louisiana starting in 2026.

Together, the three agreements represent a total of 5 million metric tons per year that Exxon plans to transport and store for third-party customers.

“Our agreement with Nucor is the latest example of how we’re delivering on our mission to help accelerate the world's path to net zero and build a compelling new business,” Dan Ammann, president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, says in a statement over the summer. “Momentum is building as customers recognize our ability to solve emission challenges at scale.”

In addition to the carbon storage agreements, the energy giant also completed the acquisition of Denbury Inc. this month in an all-stock transaction valued at $4.9 billion. The deal adds more than 1,300 miles, including nearly 925 miles of CO2 pipelines in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi to Exxon's CO2 pipeline network.

The deal was first announced this summer.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

City offers free composting services to Houstonians looking to reduce landfill contributions

do your part

The City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department is launching a free Food Waste Drop-Off pilot program through the end of February.

The program is in collaboration with Council Member Sallie Alcorn, Zero Waste Houston and the City of Houston Health Department, and allows residents to drop off food scraps at four different locations. The locations are:

  • Kashmere Multi-Service Center, Mondays from 2 to 5 pm
  • Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, Tuesdays from 2 to 5 pm
  • Alief Neighborhood Center, Wednesdays from 4 to 7 pm
  • Sunnyside Multi-Service Center, Thursdays from 3 to 6 pm

Houston residents, businesses, and institutions generate 6.2 million tons of municipal solid waste per year according to the Solid Waste Department program.

“You’ll find when you start composting your food scraps, there is a lot less trash generated in your home, at your curb, and taken to the landfill,” Alcorn says in a news release.

The Solid Waste Management Department provides solid waste services with the collection, disposal, and recycling of discarded material in an environmentally-friendly and cost effective way.

“The Solid Waste Department is eager to continue to provide innovative programs that divert waste from the landfill and actively engage Houston residents,” says Mark Wilfalk, Director of Solid Waste Management in the release.

Houston energy transition events not to miss, expert commentary on climate crisis, and more things to know

take note

Editor's note: Start your week off strong with three quick things to catch up on in Houston's energy transition: a roundup of events not to miss, a new Houston energy executive to know, and more.

Events not to miss

Put these Houston-area energy-related events on your calendar.

    • Future of Energy Summit is Tuesday, February 6, at AC Hotel by Marriott Houston Downtown. Register.
    • The 2024 NAPE Summit is Wednesday, February 7, to Friday, February 9, at the George R. Brown Convention Center. It's the energy industry’s marketplace for the buying, selling and trading of prospects and producing properties. Register.
    • The De Lange Conference, taking place February 9 and 10 at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, is centered around the theme “Brave New Worlds: Who Decides? Research, Risk and Responsibility” this year. Register.
    • The Future of Energy Across the Americas: Helping Lawyers Predict and Adapt — the 2024 Houston Energy Conference — is February 27 to March 1. Register.
    • CERAWeek 2024 is Monday, March 18, to Friday, March 22, in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Register.

    ​Commentary: Chris Wood, co-founder of Moonshot Compost, on loving the climate apocalypse​

    Chris Wood knows that the last thing anyone wants to be reminded of in 2024 is the impending climate apocalypse, but, as he writes in his guest column, "There is a scientific consensus that the world climate is trending towards uninhabitable for many species, including humans, due in large part to results of human activity."

    He cites a report that 93 percent “believe that climate change poses a serious and imminent threat to the planet.”

    "Until recently reviewing this report, I was unaware that 93 percent of any of us could agree on anything," he writes. "It got me thinking, how much of our problem today is based on misunderstanding both the nature of the problem and the solution?" Read more.

    New hire: Bracewell names new partner to advise clients on energy transition tax incentives

    Bracewell announced that Jennifer Speck has joined the firm's tax department as a partner in the Houston office. Speck will advise clients on energy transition tax incentives.

    Some of her experiences include onshore and offshore wind, solar, carbon capture, clean hydrogen and clean fuel projects. She recently served as senior manager of tax and regulatory compliance at Navigator CO2 Ventures LLC. She graduated in 2010 with a B.F.A. in mental health psychology from Northeastern State University, and received her J.D., with honors, from The University of Tulsa College of Law in 2012. Read more.

    Houston companies land DOE vouchers for clean tech

    money moves

    Ten Houston-area companies will receive vouchers from the Department of Energy's latest round of funding to support the adoption of clean energy tech.

    The companies are among 111 organizations to receive up to $250,000 in vouchers from the DOE's Office of Technology Transitions, totaling $9.8 million in funding, according to a release from the department.

    The voucher program is in collaboration with the Offices of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). It is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

    “It takes a breadth of tools and expertise to bring an innovative technology from research and development to deployment,” Vanessa Z. Chan, DOE Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions, says in a statement. “The Voucher Program will pair 111 clean energy solutions with the support they need from expert voucher providers to help usher new technologies to market.”

    In addition to the funding, the program seeks to help small businesses and non-traditional organizations gain access to testing facilities and third-party expertise.

    The vouchers come in five different opportunities that focus on different areas of business growth and support:

    • Voucher Opportunity 1 (VO1) - Pre-Demonstration Commercialization Support
    • Voucher Opportunity 2 (VO2) - Performance Validation, Modeling, and Certification Support
    • Voucher Opportunity 3 (VO3) - Clean Energy Demonstration Project Siting/Permitting Support
    • Voucher Opportunity 4 (VO4) - Commercialization Support (for companies with a functional technology prototype)
    • Voucher Opportunity 5 (VO5) - Commercialization Support (for developers, including for-profit firms, that are working to commercialize a prototype that fits a specific technology vertical of interest for DOE)

    The 10 Houston-area companies to receive funding, their voucher type and projects include:

    • Terradote Inc. with Big Blue Technologies Inc. (VO2): Full ISO-Compliant Life Cycle Assessment for Clean Energy Technologies
    • Solugen Inc. and Encina with ACTion Battery Technologies L.L.C. and Frontline Waste Holding LLC (Vo2): Barracuda Virtual Reactor Simulation, Validation and Testing
    • Flow Safe with Concept Group LLC and Precision Fluid Control (VO2): Durability Testing of Hydrogen Components, Materials, and Storage Systems
    • Percheron Power LLC (VO4): Fundraising Support
    • Capwell Services Inc. with Banyu Carbon Inc. (VO5): Field Testing Support for Validation of Novel Resource Sustainability Technologies
    • Syzygy Plasmonics with Ample Carbon PBC, Terraform Industries, Lydian Labs Inc. and Vycarb Inc. (VO5): Rapid Life Cycle Assessment for Carbon Management or Resource Sustainability Technologies
    • Solidec Inc. with GreenFire Energy (VO5): LCA Calculator Tool for Carbon Management or Resource Sustainability Technologies
    • Encino Environmental Services LLC with Wood Cache, Completion Corp and Carbon Lockdown (VO5): Realtime Above/Underground Gas Monitoring Reporting and Verification, Including Cloud Connectivity for Remote Sites
    • Mati Carbon PBC with Ebb Carbon Inc. (VO5): Community Benefits Assessment and Environmental Justice

    Other Texas-based companies to receive funding included Molecular Rebar Design LLC and Talus Renewables from Austin, Deep Anchor Solutions from College Station, and ACTion Battery Technologies LLC from Wichita Falls.

    Last October, the DOE also awarded the Houston area more than $2 million for projects that improve energy efficiency and infrastructure in the region.

    In December, its Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations also selected a Houston power company for a commercial-scale carbon capture and storage project cost-sharing agreement.