ExxonMobil buys stake in wood-based biofuels company
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In the face of growing pressure from the public, governments and its own investors to take more action on climate change, ExxonMobil announced a major investment in a developer of biofuels based on wood by-products.
The Texas oil and gas giant said it bought a 49.9% stake in Biojet AS, a Norwegian company that hopes to produce low-emission vehicle fuels and components from forest waste and construction timber. The company’s fuels could power passenger cars and heavy trucks and may have potential applications for ships and aviation in the future.
The agreement allows Exxon to buy up to 3 million barrels of fuel per year, which would be distributed in Norway and northwestern Europe through Exxon’s access to Norway’s Slagen terminal. Biojet hopes to begin commercial production at a plant outside Oslo in 2025 and eventually plans to establish five production facilities.
Exxon officials said the deal would provide low-emission products for the transport sector and help meet advanced fuel requirements in Norway, the UK and the European Union. Biofuels produced from wood waste, the company added, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% over their life cycle compared to petroleum-based diesel.
The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Exxon and other major oil producers have come under fire in recent years over reports that they deceived the public on climate change for decades. Its shareholders ousted two board members last spring in favor of directors perceived as better placed to ensure the company’s transition to cleaner energy sources.
The company would have considered committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
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