Exxon touts carbon capture as a climate fix, but uses it to maximize profit and keep oil flowing

by Kevin Crowley and Akshat Rathi, Bloomberg


  • Carbon captured by Exxon Mobil’s Shute Creek Treating Facility is being sold to other companies that are injecting the carbon into depleted oil fields to help produce more oil
  • Exxon may have claimed hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits due to the tax credit that encouraged companies to capture and store carbon back in 2008
    • The company may have collected $1 billion awarded under the credit over the past decade with nearly $900 million of that amount failing to comply with EPA requirements
  • Exxon is lobbying to eliminate the rule that requires companies to submit carbon monitoring plans to the Environmental Protection Agency in order to claim the carbon credits 
  • Some environmental advocates believe fossil fuel companies are exploiting carbon capture technology to maximize their profits as the carbon they capture can be utilized to pump more oil from the ground in a process referred to as enhanced oil recovery
    • Enhanced oil recovery involves injecting CO2 and water into an oil well which makes the oil easier to move and pump from underground
  • The carbon capture process helps fossil fuels companies retain enough CO2 to keep using the enhanced oil recovery method, which can potentially keep them in business longer
  • The International Energy Agency said recently that carbon capture capacity must soar to 840 million metric tons by 2030, up from about 40 million today in order to have benefits for the environment

Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.

Read More:

California oil production limits stall in Legislature, leaving the issue to Newsom



  • Assembley Bill 345, legislation that would have mandated setbacks of oil drilling sites from homes, schools, and other community dwellings, was voted down 5-4
    • The bill would have also required the Department of Conservation to create an environmental justice progam where residents near drilling sites could voice their concerns
  • Currently the state houses 1,175 active offshore wells and 60,643 active onshore wells
  • While more than 5.4 million Californians lived within one mile of a drilling site and exposure to the pollution is known to cause health effects, Governor Gavin Newsom allowed almost 50 new fracking permits since April
  • Residents of the Central Valley, particular Black and Brown residents, continue to experience the pollution and health effects of continued fracking and drilling at disporortionate rates
  • The state Department of Conservation has been holding online and in-person meetings with communities near oil drilling sites discussing proposed public health and safety protections, but these proposed regulations have not been released

Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, People of Color. Divestment from big oil and securing  100% clean energy in California’s frontline communities is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.

Read More:

California is becoming the gas station of the Pacific Rim

by Ann Alexander, NRDC


  • California has been importing more oil as its extraction in state has begun to wind down due to clean cars and fuel standards decreasing our need for oil
  • Many argue that the import of oil from other countries is worse than drilling in state
  • California has yet to pass a setback rule that bans having oil wells near homes and schools, making the argument that oil drilling in state is not any better than importing
  • Refineries are turning to imported crude oil not to meet consumer needs but to capitalize on exporting the refined products
  • A report by Communities for a Better Environment highlights the ways California’s refineries are blocking the state from reaching climate goals and polluting cities
  • California refineries now export more than 200,000 barrels of refined products per day
  • Though oil production levels have been declining, the refining sector has been increasing and growing their export markets
  • Refining uses mass amounts of energy and releases tons of toxic pollution

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.

Read More:

Arctic Drilling

Trump administration OK’s its first arctic offshore drilling plan

by Sabrina Shankman, InsideClimate News

Making good on its promise to jump-start Arctic offshore drilling, the Trump administration gave Italian oil company Eni a quick green light on Wednesday to drill exploratory wells off the coast of Alaska.

This is the first Arctic drilling approval under President Donald Trump. It also will be the first exploration project conducted in the U.S. Arctic since Shell’s failed attempt in the Chukchi Sea in 2015.

The approval comes as the administration attempts to overturn former President Barack Obama’s ban of new drilling in federal Arctic waters. Eni’s leases were exempt from Obama’s ban because the leases are not new.

Environmental groups are calling the approval a sign that Trump is doing the bidding of the oil industry. The public had 21 days to review and comment on the exploration plan and 10 days to comment on the environmental impacts, which Kristen Monsell, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said was insufficient given the potential risks.

“An oil spill here would do incredible damage, and it’d be impossible to clean up,” Monsell said. “The Trump administration clearly cares only about appeasing oil companies, no matter its legal obligations or the threats to polar bears or our planet.”

Eni plans to drill four exploratory wells in December 2017, just before the leases expire at the end of the year.

The wells will be drilled from Spy Island, an existing gravel island in state waters, located three miles off the coast of Alaska. The wells would be the longest extended-reach wells in Alaska—stretching six miles horizontally into an area of shallow federal waters about six feet deep.

“We know there are vast oil and gas resources under the Beaufort Sea, and we look forward to working with Eni in their efforts to tap into this energy potential,” said the Management’s acting director, Walter Cruickshank, in a statement.

Monsell noted that Eni had not pursued exploratory drilling there until its leases were about to expire.

“Approving this Arctic drilling plan at the 11th hour makes a dangerous project even riskier,” she said.

In June, the Center and 12 other environmental organizations, including Earthjustice, Greenpeace, WWF and the Sierra Club, sent comments to BOEM about Eni’s proposed plan. In their comments, the groups said that Eni’s plan failed to adequately assess the extent of environmental harm the project could pose, the likelihood of an oil spill, or how Eni would respond to a large oil spill.

“Eni simply has failed to submit a complete, adequate Exploration Plan and environmental impact analysis, and, accordingly BOEM should rescind its completeness determination and reject Eni’s Exploration Plan,” the groups wrote.

BOEM disagreed, finding that the project would have “no significant impact.”

“Eni brought to us a solid, well-considered plan,” Cruickshank said.

Eni has said it will only drill in the winter when a potential oil spill would be easier to clean up and when whales are not migrating in the area.

Before Eni can drill, it will have to secure additional permits from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.