Exxon Bets Big on Extracting Dirty Canadian Oil Despite Climate, Cost Concerns

When Exxon Mobil placed a risky bet on Canada’s tar sands years ago, it knew these deposits contain some of the dirtiest oil in the world. And its own scientists had documented the link between fossil fuels and global warming.Exxon’s investment in what it calls oil sands, which accounts for more than a third of its crude-oil reserves around the world, has been running up against increased international pressure to curtail emissions that contribute to climate change.Now the company’s bet has hit another problem: persistently low oil prices make the high cost of producing petroleum from tar sands a drag on the bottom line.In a routine financial disclosure this fall, Exxon said it could be forced to wipe billions of barrels of tar-sands reserves from its books if oil prices don’t increase before the end of the year. That could mean cutting its holdings by 70 percent and erasing a decade of investment.   Continue reading...

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