Political and other actors and their agents also increasingly seek to advance climate change objectives indirectly, such as by seeking to reduce the availability or increase the cost of financing and investment in the oil and gas sector and taking actions intended to promote changes in business strategy for oil and gas companies. Depending on how policies are formulated and applied, such policies could negatively affect our investment returns, make our hydrocarbon-based products more expensive or less competitive, lengthen project implementation times, and reduce demand for hydrocarbons, as well as shift hydrocarbon demand toward relatively lower-carbon alternatives. Current and pending greenhouse gas regulations or policies may also increase our compliance costs, such as for monitoring or sequestering emissions. Technology and low carbon solutions. Achieving societal ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately achieve net-zero will require new technologies to reduce the cost and increase the scalability of alternative energy sources, as well as technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS). CCS technologies, focused initially on capturing and sequestering CO2 emissions from high-intensity industrial activities, can assist in meeting society’s objective to mitigate atmospheric greenhouse gas levels while also helping ensure the availability of the reliable and affordable energy the world requires. ExxonMobil has established a Low Carbon Solutions (LCS) business unit to advance the development and deployment of these technologies and projects, including CCS, hydrogen and advanced biofuels, breakthrough energy efficiency processes, advanced energy-saving materials, and other technologies.
The company’s efforts include both in-house research and development and collaborative efforts with leading universities as well as commercial partners involved in advanced lower-emission energy technologies. Our future results and ability to grow our LCS business and succeed through the energy transition will depend in part on the success of these research and collaboration efforts and on our ability to adapt and apply the strengths of our current business model to providing the energy products of the future in a cost-competitive manner. Policy and market development. The scale of the world’s energy system means that, in addition to developments in technology as discussed above, a successful energy transition will require appropriate support from governments and private participants throughout the global economy. Our Skility to a develop and deploy CCS and other lower emission energy technologies at commercial scale, and the growth and future returns of LCS and other emerging businesses in which we invest, will depend in part on the continued development of supportive government policies and markets. Failure or delay of these policies or markets to materialize or be maintained could adversely impact these investments. Policy and other actions that result in restricting the availability of hydrocarbon products without commensurate reduction in demand may have unpredictable adverse effects, including increased commodity price volatility, periods of significantly higher commodity prices and resulting inflationary pressures, and local or regional energy shortages. Such effects in Russia ExxonMobil’s net acreage holdings in Sakhalin totaled 85 thousand offshore acres at year-end 2021. During the year, a total of 0.9 net development wells were completed. Other supply-related factors. Commodity prices and margins also vary depending on a number of factors affecting supply. For example, increased supply from the development of new oil and gas supply sources and technologies to enhance recovery from existing sources tends to reduce commodity prices to the extent such supply increases are not offset by commensurate growth in demand. Similarly, increases in industry refining or petrochemical manufacturing capacity relative to demand tend to reduce margins on the affected products. World oil, gas, and petrochemical supply levels can also be affected by factors that reduce available supplies, such as the level of and adherence by participating countries to production quotas established by OPEC or “OPEC+” and other agreements among sovereigns, government policies, including actions intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, that restrict oil and gas production or increase associated costs, and the occurrence of wars, hostile actions, natural disasters, disruptions in competitors’ operations, logistics constraints or unexpected unavailability of distribution channels that may disrupt supplies. Technological change can also alter the relative costs for competitors to find, produce, and refine oil and gas and to manufacture petrochemicals. Other market factors. ExxonMobil’s business results are also exposed to potential negative impacts due to changes in interest rates, inflation, currency exchange rates, and other local or regional market conditions. Market factors may also result in losses from commodity derivatives and other instruments we use to hedge price exposures or for trading purposes. Government and Political Factors ExxonMobil’s results can be adversely affected by political or regulatory developments affecting our operations. Access limitations. A number of countries limit access to their oil and gas resources, including by restricting leasing or permitting activities, or may place resources off-limits from development altogether.
Restrictions on production of oil and gas could increase to the extent governments view such measures as a viable approach for pursuing national and global energy and climate policies. Restrictions on foreign investment in the oil and gas sector tend to increase in times of high commodity prices, when national governments may have less need of outside sources of private capital. Many countries also restrict the import or export of certain products based on point of origin. Restrictions on doing business. ExxonMobil is subject to laws and sanctions imposed by the United States or by other jurisdictions where we do business that may prohibit ExxonMobil or certain of its affiliates from doing business in certain countries, or restricting the kind of business that may be conducted. Such restrictions may provide a competitive advantage to competitors who may not be subject to comparable restrictions. Lack of legal certainty. Some countries in which we do business lack well-developed legal systems, or have not yet adopted, or may be unable to maintain, clear regulatory frameworks for oil and gas development. Lack of legal certainty exposes our operations to increased risk of adverse or unpredictable actions by government officials, and also makes it more difficult for us to enforce our contracts. In some cases these risks can be partially offset by agreements to arbitrate disputes in an international forum, but the adequacy of this remedy may still depend on the local legal system to enforce an award. Regulatory and litigation risks. Even in countries with well-developed legal systems where ExxonMobil does business, we remain exposed to changes in law or interpretation of settled law (including changes that result from international treaties and accords) and changes in policy that could adversely affect our results, such as: increases in taxes, duties, or government royalty rates (including retroactive claims); price controls; changes in environmental regulations or other laws that increase our cost of compliance or reduce or delay available business opportunities (including changes in laws affecting offshore drilling operations, water use, methane emissions, hydraulic fracturing, or use of new or recycled plastics); actions by policy-makers, regulators, or other actors to delay or deny necessary licenses and permits, restrict the availability of oil and gas leases or the transportation of our products, or otherwise require changes in the company’s business or strategy that could result in reduced returns, adoption of regulations mandating efficiency standards, the use of alternative fuels or uncompetitive fuel components; adoption of government payment transparency regulations that could require us to disclose competitively sensitive commercial information, or that could cause us to violate the non-disclosure laws of other countries; and government actions to cancel contracts, re-denominate the official currency, renounce or default on obligations, renegotiate terms unilaterally,
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