For Immediate Release
May 21, 2024

Contact: Al Johnson-Kurts, al@priceofoil.org

Washington, D.C. – Oil Change International released our Big Oil Reality Check report today in collaboration with over 200 organizations worldwide. The report assesses the climate pledges and plans of eight international oil and gas companies – Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, TotalEnergies, BP, Eni, Equinor, and ConocoPhillips – against 10 criteria representing the bare minimum for aligning with the Paris Agreement to limit global heating below 1.5°C. 

Key Findings:

The Big Oil Reality Check report finds that:

  • These oil majors fail to align with international agreements to phase out fossil fuels and to limit global temperature rise to 1.5ºC. 
    • Every company is “Grossly Insufficient” or “Insufficient” on a majority of criteria. 
    • Three companies (Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil) are “Grossly Insufficient” – our lowest rating – on all criteria.
  • Combined, these 8 companies’ current oil and gas extraction plans are consistent with more than 2.4°C of global temperature rise,(1) likely leading to global devastation.
  • These 8 companies alone are on track to use 30% of our remaining carbon budget to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Ambition: Of the 8 analyzed companies, 6 have explicit goals to increase oil and gas production. Even those without such plans are advancing new fossil fuel projects and selling polluting assets rather than shutting them down, masking their actions as contributing to an energy transition while perpetuating climate pollution.

Integrity: None of the companies we analyzed have set comprehensive targets to ensure their total emissions decline rapidly and consistently, starting now. Every company intends to rely on carbon capture and storage (CCS), offsets, and/or other methods that delay and distract from ending fossil fuels, and prolong the health and community safety impacts of dirty energy. 

People-Centered Transitions: All companies fail to meet basic criteria for just transition plans for workers and communities where they operate. All companies fail to meet basic criteria on upholding human rights.

Ambition
While last year the world committed to “transition away from fossil fuels” at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the Big Oil Reality Check report reveals oil and gas companies are moving in the opposite direction, by doubling down on drilling that unleashes damage to our climate and fuel disasters by poisoning us, our air, land, and water. 

If oil and gas companies were serious about the climate crisis, the first way they’d show it would be ceasing to add new fuel to the fire – meaning no new exploration, expansion, or production of fossil fuels. Instead we find that: 

  • 6 of the 8 companies we analyzed (Chevron, ExxonMobil, TotalEnergies, ConocoPhillips, Equinor, and Eni) have explicit goals to increase oil and gas production.(2) 
  • Even those companies (BP and Shell) that don’t have explicit plans to increase total production are putting forward new fossil fuel projects for approval, while framing themselves as contributing to the energy transition with a different strategy: selling polluting assets to other companies who will almost certainly make sure those fossil fuels are burned. Selling polluting assets can make it look like BP and Shell are heading in a better direction, but unless oil and gas fields are retired, the reality is this strategy protects their bottom lines while climate pollution continues.

Integrity
The Big Oil Reality Check report reveals that none of the companies we analyzed have set comprehensive targets to ensure their total emissions decline rapidly and consistently, starting now. Instead of phasing out production as rapidly as possible:

  • Every company intends to rely on carbon capture and storage (CCS), offsets, and/or other methods that delay and distract from ending fossil fuels, and prolong the health and community safety impacts of dirty energy. 
  • Many companies (Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Shell, and TotalEnergies) can meet their existing climate pledges without even cutting total climate pollution below current levels within this decade. 
  • There is evidence that all companies are lobbying against climate action, greenwashing, and otherwise maneuvering to undermine the energy transition. 

People-Centered Transitions
While many companies have co-opted the language of ‘just transition’ from labor and climate justice movements in recent years, all the companies fail to meet basic criteria for just transition plans for workers and communities where they operate. Five companies score “Grossly Insufficient” and three score “Insufficient.”

All companies fail to meet basic criteria on upholding human rights, with five scoring “Grossly Insufficient” and three scoring “Insufficient”. These companies’ track record when it comes to protecting human rights and Indigenous Peoples’ rights is deeply concerning. Each is experiencing resistance from frontline communities to their projects based on human rights, health, and/or safety concerns. An Oil Change International investigation in March 2024 revealed that ExxonMobil, Chevron, TotalEnergies, BP, Shell, and Eni are all complicit in facilitating the supply of crude oil to Israel. This is in the context of the Israeli military’s ongoing massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and mounting evidence of war crimes. Human rights are non-negotiable and these companies’ apparent disregard for it is yet another reason they should not be trusted to take climate action.

(1) We compare Rystad Energy’s projection of the eight companies’ combined oil and gas production through 2035 (based on their existing asset base and planned and potential new projects) to rates of global oil and gas production under the International Energy Agency’s Stated Energy Policies Scenario.
(2) In the near term

David Tong, report author and Global Industry Campaign Manager at Oil Change International, said:
“Our findings reveal how it’s clearer than ever that oil and gas companies – the climate arsonists fueling climate chaos – cannot be trusted to put out the fire. There is no evidence that big oil and gas companies are acting seriously to be part of the energy transition.”

Myriam Douo, Campaigner at Oil Change International, said:
“The efforts of climate and social movements have forced oil and gas companies to acknowledge that fossil fuels are dirty and dangerous, leading to a variety of climate pledges and “plans”. The Big Oil Reality Check report reveals that oil and gas corporations are more interested in looking like they are acting on climate change than actually acting on climate change. They spend billions on smoke and mirrors to try to fool us into believing they have solutions for a livable planet when, in reality, they are perpetuating harm to the climate and local communities while trying to suck every last ounce of profit out of their dirty fossil fuel business.”

Mia Cathryn Haugen Chamberlain, North Sea Campaigner at Oil Change International, said:
“You cannot live in Norway without being exposed to Equinor’s impressive greenwashing efforts. Big Oil Reality Check now reveals that Equinor does not meet any of the minimum requirements to be in line with climate goals. The Norwegian state has to take the lead with a plan to phase out fossil fuel production, seize new licenses and cut tax incentives for oil and gas exploration.”

Charity Migwi, Africa Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International, said:
“For the past 100 years, TotalEnergies has consistently revealed its true nature: a colossal force of toxicity wreaking havoc across Africa. Their harmful operations demand immediate attention before they inflict further damage on the climate, humanity, and the environment for yet another century. It’s time to Kick TotalEnergies out of Africa.”

Thuli Makama, Africa Director at Oil Change International, said:
“Shell is currently under fire for business deals that could potentially let the company off the hook for cleaning up its devastating mess in Africa and paying for harms to communities. In the Niger Delta, Shell is attempting to sell off dirty onshore production assets without first cleaning up decades of environmental destruction and contamination. Meanwhile, Shell continues to invest in new oil and gas in the region. Shell must take full responsibility for any and all environmental degradation, climate impacts, and human carnage from its operations.”

Allie Rosenbluth, US Program Manager, Oil Change International, said:
“American fossil fuel corporations are the worst of the worst. Chevron, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips perpetuate harm in frontline communities not only across the U.S. but worldwide. This year’s Big Oil Reality Check makes it clearer than ever – we cannot trust fossil fuel corporations to do anything but line the pockets of their CEOs and investors at the cost of our climate and communities. People around the world are rising up to end the era of fossil fuels and build a just energy system that puts climate and communities first.”

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