It was either a classic case of bad timing or a deliberate FU, but whatevs. We’re going with the latter. At 7:45 p.m. last night, almost precisely in the middle of the history-making events of Climate Week NYC, ExxonMobil sent a press release over the wires announcing major expansions for petrochemical operations at their refineries in Singapore and Antwerp.
So much for America’s #CleanRevolution!
A Big FU To Climate Week NYC
Seriously, what else to make of the timing?
Aside from the estimated 310,000 – 400,000 people who participated in The People’s Climate March on Sunday, President Obama and practically every other head-of-state on the planet took to the General Assembly podium at the historic UN Climate Summit to commit their nations to carbon management. Hundreds of other top brass from the NGO and business sectors were also at the ready with commitments in support.
It’s quite possible that any number of other major fossil fuel stakeholders also have expansion plans in the works, but unless we missed something, ExxonMobil is the only one to interrupt Climate Week NYC by broadcasting it in a press release.
We did catch a new press release from Shell this morning, but that was to pledge $1.5 million to a UN initiative for Somalia. The company started up its second major deep-water operation in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this month, but at least it had the courtesy to make the announcement back on September 8.
BP also had some expansion news earlier this month (a gas line in Azerbaijan), but for Climate Week NYC it chose to announce its new “Ultimate Field Trip 2015” STEM initiative in the US.
Chevron was also mum about its expansion plans during Climate Week NYC in terms of a general announcement, though CEO John Watson spilled the beans mere hours before the People’s Climate March. On Sunday morning he appeared on Fox News to state that Chevron will grow its oil and gas production 20 percent by 2017, for starters.
The week isn’t over yet, so if you spot any other major expansion announcement from a high profile fossil company leave us a note in the comment thread and we’ll update this post accordingly.
ExxonMobil Digs In Its Heels
The new ExxonMobil announcement comes on the heels of a huge planned expansion at the company’s Baytown facility in Texas to leverage the US shale gas boom for gas-to-plastics production, so let’s take a look at ExxonMobil’s announcement and see what they’re up to.
Hydrocarbon fluids is fancyspeak for petrochemicals and other fossil-derived liquid products. As listed in the press release, some of ExxonMobil’s branded products are Exxsol™ D, Escaid™ (that’s an oil drilling fluid, by the way), Isopar™, Somentor™ and Solvesso™.
Here’s ExxonMobil fluids marketing manager with moar words:
ExxonMobil’s specialty products, such as our Escaid™ fluids, improve performance and safety in extended-reach drilling and solvent extraction processes for mining applications. Our Exxsol™ fluids, with extremely-low aromatic content and low odor, are effectively and efficiently replacing traditional industrial and consumer solvents.
As for the FU, yep, we are still going with that. Buried toward the end of the press release is this statement (emphasis added):
The expansion projects, which upgrade refining streams into specialty chemical products, are in progress and build on other recently announced large investment projects in the company’s Singapore and Antwerp facilities.
Okay, so what was the big hurry with the new announcement?