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Exxon, Shell, BP to Join Group to Cut Emissions From Natural Gas

By Sarah Kent

Exxon Mobil Corp. plans to join with other big energy companies in an effort to reduce pollution from natural gas production, according to people familiar with the matter. 

The new grouping will also include Royal Dutch Shell PLC and BP PLC, according to the people. While Shell and BP have joined forces with other global players in the past in similar industrywide collaborations on environmental issues, Exxon has more typically stayed on the sidelines.

The group plans to endorse and push principles to help reduce methane emissions from natural gas production, transportation and consumption, according to the people. The firms plan to announce the new effort later Wednesday. 

In recent months, Exxon has become more engaged with issues related to climate change, after pressure from investors and legal challenges.

The company has increased its climate-related disclosures, stated its commitment to the Paris climate agreement, named an environmental expert to its board and worked to reduce emissions from its operations. But it has also resisted shareholder requests for more information about how climate change will affect its operations. It has also mostly stayed out of a handful of climate-change collaborations led by its European peers–until now.

Previous industry efforts have often had a broad scope that included ways to cut carbon emissions. The new effort is targeting methane, another so-called greenhouse gas that is the main component of natural gas.

When natural gas is burned, it releases less carbon dioxide than oil or coal. But unburnt methane can also escape into the atmosphere during the production process, for example, from leaky pipes.

A recent International Energy Agency study found around 76 million tons of methane are emitted every year from global oil and gas operations. That is equivalent to more than Australia’s entire natural gas output, the IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told an industry gathering last month.

Write to Sarah Kent at [email protected]

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 22, 2017 09:27 ET (14:27 GMT)

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