Metrics and targets

ExxonMobil has established programs to drive improvements in energy efficiency and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

These programs are supported by key performance metrics, which are utilized to identify and prioritize opportunities to drive progress.

Report April 23, 2021

In this article

Metrics and targets
Image ExxonMobil has interests in more than 100 cogeneration facilities around the world, with the latest unit recently completed at Imperial's Strathcona refinery in Alberta, Canada.
ExxonMobil has interests in more than 100 cogeneration facilities around the world, with the latest unit recently completed at Imperial's Strathcona refinery in Alberta, Canada.

Exceeded 2020 reduction goals; progressing further greenhouse gas reductions

By the end of 2020, ExxonMobil delivered on its goal to significantly reduce methane emissions and flaring versus 2016 levels. The Company's goals included a 15 percent reduction in methane and a 25 percent reduction in flaring. Both goals were achieved through targeted improvements at facilities in the United States, Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Nigeria, eliminating approximately 6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions (CO2e). 

New CCS deployment captured an additional 500,000 tonnes of CO2e in Australia and Qatar in 2019. Through the Company's energy management systems, including the application of cogeneration, greater than 1 million tonnes of CO2e were avoided from 2015 through 2020.

In 2018, ExxonMobil announced two 12-year agreements with Lincoln Clean Energy for the purchase of 500 MWs of wind and solar electricity. Sage Drew, the operator of the wind facilities, began generating power to the electricity grid in Texas (ERCOT) in December of 2019; and the solar plant is currently active. Both plants are expected to avoid approximately 800,000 tonnes of CO2 per year by replacing 70 percent of power purchased by the Company from the ERCOT grid with carbon-free power. Additional power purchase agreements are being evaluated around the world.

Since 2000, ExxonMobil has invested over $10 billion in projects to research, develop and deploy lower-emission energy solutions. ExxonMobil also continues to expand collaborative efforts with other companies and academic institutions. See Developing and deploying scalable technology solutions for more information on these collaborations.

Greenhouse gas emissions avoided from carbon capture*

(Net equity, CO2-equivalent emissions million tonnes per year)

*ExxonMobil estimates

Greenhouse gas emissions avoided from cogeneration*

(Net equity, CO2-equivalent emissions million tonnes per year)

*ExxonMobil estimates

Up close

Taking actions to reduce methane emissions

ExxonMobil is committed to reducing methane emissions in its operations, as well as advancing technology and policy to make progress across our industry in a cost-effective manner.


ExxonMobil implemented a program across its U.S. unconventional production to reduce methane emissions from new and existing sources by:

  • Enhancing leak detection and repair surveys
  • Phasing out high-bleed pneumatic devices
  • Monitoring liquid unloadings to avoid unplanned releases
  • Improving facility designs
  • Furthering training programs for operations management, superintendents, foremen, facilty engineering personnel and those involved in leak inspections

In addition, the Company continues to mature and operationalize research and technology developments in these areas. For example, emerging aircraft leak detection is now part of routine monitoring campaigns. Continuous monitoring approaches are also under development.

Since initiating its voluntary methane reduction program, the Company has conducted nearly 23,000 leak surveys on more than 5.2 million components at more than 9,500 production sites. High-bleed pneumatic devices have been eliminated across U.S. unconventional production as of 2020. As a result of these actions, U.S. unconventional methane emissions have been reduced by approximately 34 percent as of 2020, compared to 2016, which is equivalent to about 63,000 tonnes.


ExxonMobil respects and supports society's ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and continues to advocate for policies that promote cost-effective solutions to address the risks of climate change. In this regard, ExxonMobil submitted a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rulemaking docket indicating support for reasonable, cost-effective regulations to manage methane emissions from new and existing sources. ExxonMobil submitted a similar statement to the European Commission as it was developing a methane strategy for the European Union. The Company also published a model framework for industry-wide methane regulations and urged stakeholders, policymakers and governments to develop comprehensive, enhanced rules to reduce emissions in all phases of production and across the full natural gas value chain. 

In addition, ExxonMobil was a founding member, and remains highly involved in the Methane Guiding Principles1 – an international multi-stakeholder initiative now comprising more than 20 companies and 15 supporting organizations that work together to address methane emissions across the full natural gas value chain. Under the Methane Guiding Principles, ExxonMobil is a primary sponsor of the IEA's Methane Tracker,2 a web-based information portal that provides information on global emissions, mitigation measures, and regulatory approaches. The Company also participates in the Methane Guiding Principles' non-operated joint venture and policy-related work streams. 

ExxonMobil supports strong measurement, reporting and verification standards as part of a broad suite of regulations to address oil and natural gas related methane emissions. To that end, the Company is actively engaged with organizations such as the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, the Collaboratory for Advancing Methane Science, the Environmental Partnership, and the Methane Guiding Principles, mentioned previously, to continue to improve the accuracy and transparency of how industry approaches methane emissions measurement, reporting and verification. ExxonMobil participates in the recently formed International Association of Oil & Gas Producers/IPIECA/OGCI Task Force for Recommended Practices for Methane Emission Detection & Quantification Technologies. 

ExxonMobil is also working with trade associations to encourage consensus on the need to develop policy positions and/or best practices on methane emissions inventory and management, as well as technology and innovation, most recently for example, with the American Exploration & Production Council (AXPC), the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA) and the Argentinean Institute for Oil and Gas (Instituto Argentino del Petróleo y del Gas, IAPG).



methane reduction across U.S. unconventional production as of 2020



high-bleed pneumatic devices phased out across U.S. unconventional production as of 2020

Research and technology

Reducing methane emissions in oil and natural gas operations is an important way to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Advances in technology can help detect and identify the sources, and improve the ability to respond quickly.

ExxonMobil is working to find new and better ways to monitor and reduce methane emissions through a new collaboration, known as Project Astra, involving universities, environmental groups and other industry partners. Together, the partners are working to develop an innovative sensor network in Texas that continuously monitors methane emissions across large areas to enable quick and efficient detection and repair of leaks. This high-frequency monitoring system will enable operators to more efficiently direct resources to a specific location and could provide a more affordable, efficient solution to reduce methane emissions.

In addition, the Company is testing novel analytical systems that can be deployed in helicopters, airplanes and drones to detect fugitive emissions.  The Company is also exploring the use of satellite surveillance where data can be regularly updated each time satellites orbit the earth. These technology investments complement the Company’s voluntary methane management program that includes structured leak detection and repair protocols, prioritized replacement of high-bleed pneumatic devices, and infrastructure enhancements.

ExxonMobil's greenhouse gas emission reduction plans

The Company recently announced plans to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its operations by 2025, compared to 2016 levels, while aiming for industry-leading greenhouse gas performance across its businesses by 2030. The 2025 plans include a 15 to 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas intensity of upstream operations. The reductions will be supported by a 40 to 50 percent reduction in methane intensity; and a 35 to 45 percent reduction in flaring intensity. The Company also plans to eliminate routine flaring by 2030 in upstream operations, as defined by the World Bank.

The 2025 emission reduction plans include actions that are expected to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 30 percent for the Company's upstream business. Similarly, absolute flaring and methane emissions are expected to decrease by 40 to 50 percent. ExxonMobil's emission reduction plans cover Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions from assets operated by the Company.

Actions will include deploying industry-leading best practices such as increased leak detection and repair, the application of advanced technologies to improve inspections, and improved facility designs including the phase out of high-bleed pneumatic devices. See Taking actions to reduce methane emissions above for more information. 

ExxonMobil’s emission reduction plans will leverage the continued application of operational efficiencies, ongoing development and deployment of lower-emission technologies, such as carbon capture, and through additional purchases of renewable electricity for its operations. 

Image ExxonMobil is working to find new and better ways to monitor and reduce methane emissions, including in its Permian operations.
ExxonMobil is working to find new and better ways to monitor and reduce methane emissions, including in its Permian operations.

Greenhouse gas emissions performance data

ExxonMobil assesses its performance to support continual improvements throughout the organization. Since 2011, performance data include unconventional operations information. In 2014, the Company started reporting data over a 10-year period to demonstrate trends over time as part of a commitment to transparency. The reporting guidelines and indicators of IPIECA, the International Oil and Gas Producers Association and the American Petroleum Institute Oil and Gas Industry Guidance on Voluntary Sustainability Reporting (2015) informed what data are included in the performance table.
2020*  2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011

Managing the risks of climate change3

4Greenhouse gas emissions, absolute (net equity, CO2-equivalent emissions), millions of tonnes 
112  118 123 122  124 122 124 127 126 128

     5Direct (excluding emissions from exported power and heat) 

105  110 115 113 116 114 116 119 118 119
     6Emissions associated with imported power
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 9
     CO2 (excluding emissions from exported power and heat) 107  112  115  115 116 114 116 119 120 124
     Methane (CO2- equivalent) 6  8 7 7 7 7 7 5 3
     Other gases (CO2-equivalent) <1  <1  <1  <1 1 1 1 1 1 1
      Emissions from exported power and heat 3 3  3 3 3 4 8 16 15 15
4Greenhouse gas emissions, normalized (net equity, CO2-equivalent emissions), tonnes per 100 tonnes of throughput or production
    Upstream 24.0 24.8 26.6 25.8 25.8 25.5 24.2 23.2 22.3 20.7
    Downstream 20.4 19.1  18.6 18.6 19.4 18.9 19.2 19.7 19.6 20.0
    Chemical 53.5  55.0  54.3 54.2 53.9 54.8 54.5 57.9 56.3 57.2
By-region greenhouse gas emissions (net equity, CO2-equivalent emissions), millions of tonnes
     Africa/Europe/Middle East 34  36  42  43 44 44 43 44 44 45
     Americas 64 65  63 63 64 65 66 70 68 66
     Asia Pacific 14  17  18  16 16 13 15 13 14 17
By-division greenhouse gas emissions (net equity, CO2-equivalent emissions), millions of metric tons
     Upstream 50 54  58 58 58 56 57 58 56 54
     Downstream 40 41  42  42 45 45 47 49 51 54
     Chemical 22 23  23  22 21 21 21 20 19 20
 Carbon dioxide – captured for storage, millions of tonnes 7.4 6.8 7.0  6.6 6.3 6.9 6.9 5.9 4.8 5.0
Energy use (billion gigajoules)
1.5  1.5  1.5 1.4 1.5 1.5 1.4 1.4 1.5 1.5
     Upstream (gigajoules per tonnes production) 2.5  2.5  2.6 2.5 2.4 2.4 2.3 2.1 2.0 2.0
     Refining (gigajoules per tonnes throughput) 3.3 3.0  3.0 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.9 3.0 3.0 3.0
     Chemical (gigajoules per tonnes product) 11.7 10.5  10.0  10.5 10.6 10.9 10.7 10.9 12.0 11.4
7Hydrocarbon flaring (worldwide activities), million standard cubic feet per day
320 430 410 410 530 560 460 390 380 430
8Cogeneration capacity in which ExxonMobil has interest, gigawatts

5.5 5.4  5.4 5.4 5.3 5.5 5.5 5.3 5.2 5.0
* 2020 performance data includes ongoing greenhouse gas emissions mitigation measures as well as impacts associated with COVID-19.



3 ExxonMobil-operated emissions, reductions, and avoidance performance data are based on a combination of measured and estimated emissions data using reasonable efforts and collection methods. Calculations are based on industry standards and best practices, including guidance from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and IPIECA. There is uncertainty associated with the emissions, reductions, and avoidance performance data due to variation in the processes and operations, the availability of sufficient data, quality of those data and methodology used for measurement and estimation. Performance data may include rounding of subcategories. Changes to the performance data may be reported as part of the company’s annual publications as new or updated data and/or emission methodologies become available. Emissions, reductions, and avoidance estimates from non-ExxonMobil operated facilities are also included in the equity data and similarly may be updated as part of the company’s annual publications. ExxonMobil works with industry, including API and IPIECA, to improve emission factors and methodologies

4 The net equity greenhouse gas emissions metric was introduced in 2011 as a replacement for the direct equity greenhouse gas metric. Information has been restated back to 2009 according to the new metric. The net equity greenhouse gas metric includes direct and imported greenhouse gas emissions and excludes emissions from exports (including Hong Kong Power through mid-2014). ExxonMobil reports greenhouse gas emissions on a net equity basis for all business operations, reflecting its percent ownership in an asset.

5 The addition of direct emissions and emissions associated with exported power and heat is equivalent to World Resources Institute (WRI) Scope 1.

6 These emissions are equivalent to WRI Scope 2.

7 Flaring increased in 2019 due to start-up of growth projects in the Upstream and as a result of implementing measures to comply with new regulatory requirements in Downstream and Chemical manufacturing. The 2020 flaring reduction goal was met.

8 Cumulative figure.

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