U.S. Oil investors back energy transition plans at shareholder meetings

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(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An Exxon sign is seen at a gas station in the Chicago suburb of Norridge, Illinois, U.S., October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
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By Sabrina Valle

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Shareholders of Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX) on Wednesday voted in favor of the energy transition strategies proposed by the two largest U.S. oil producers, following similar support of European oil firms’ climate plans.

Major oil producers this year flipped the script and won over investors with recent steps to minimize carbon emissions and as worries over energy security and fuel prices overshadowed environmental concerns at this year’s meetings.

Only 33% of Chevron shareholders and 28% of Exxon’s voted in favor of climate proposals filed by activist group Follow This at their annual shareholder meetings on Wednesday.

Chevron holders voted against a proposal for more stringent action on addressing emissions from consumers burning its fuels, known as scope 3.

At Exxon, results marked a major shift from a year-ago when activist investors secured three seats on its board, a governance landmark. The company since has allocated $2.5 billion per year for projects to minimize its emissions.

“One third is a shareholder rebellion,” said Follow This founder Mark van Baal, referring to the Chevron vote. “Together with these investors we have to convince the other investors to vote in favor of Paris-alignment as well.”

Investors’ more management-supportive stance coincides with this year’s surge in energy prices and follows greater efforts by producers to transition to lower-carbon fuels.

Shareholders earlier blocked proposals to accelerate carbon emission reductions at oil and gas producers TotalEnergies, BP (NYSE:BP) PLC, Shell (LON:RDSa), Occidental Petroleum Corp (NYSE:OXY) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP).

U.S. Oil investors back energy transition plans at shareholder meetings

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