Chevron: Request for Report on Carbon Asset Risk

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In response to growing carbon constraints, a transformation of the world’s energy system is occurring in the form of energy efficiency increases, disruptive technology development, decreasing costs of renewables, and growing substitution. Analysts from Citi, Deutsche Bank and Statoil, among others, predict that global oil demand could peak in the next 10-15 years.  

Recognizing the risks of climate change, global governments have agreed that “the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius.” The International Energy Agency (IEA) states that “No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 degrees Celsius goal….” Making such a scenario more likely, U.S. and China leaders recently signed an historic accord to limit greenhouse gas emissions; similarly, European leaders have committed to a 40 percent reduction by 2030. 

Massive production-cost inflation over the past decade has made the industry particularly vulnerable to a downturn in demand. 

  • According to Bloomberg, capital expenditures by the largest oil companies has risen five-fold since 2000, yet overall industry production is nearly flat. 
  • Goldman Sachs notes in the past two years no major new oil project has come on stream with production costs below 70 dollars per barrel, with most in the 80-100 dollar range, raising the risk of stranded, or unprofitable, assets. 
  • Kepler Cheuvreux declares a “capex crisis” as companies invest in higher cost, higher carbon unconventional crude to stem conventional crude decline rates. Since 2005, annual upstream investment for oil has increased 100 percent, while crude oil supply has increased 3 percent. 

    Given growing global concern over climate change and actions to address it, investment analysts indicate companies may not be adequately accounting for or disclosing downside risks that could result from lower-than-expected demand for oil and cost competitive renewables. 
  • HSBC reports the equity valuation of oil producers could drop 40 to 60 percent under a low carbon consumption scenario.  

According to Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI), twenty-six percent of Chevron’s future project portfolio (2014-2050), representing $87 billion, requires at least $95 per barrel for a breakeven price, and 14 percent require a price of $115 per barrel. By the end of 2025, CTI expects high cost, unconventional projects to represent 36 percent of Chevron’s potential future production.  

Shareholders are concerned that shareholder capital is at increasing risk from capital expenditures on high cost, high carbon projects that may become stranded. 

Shareholders request the Board of Directors to adopt and issue a dividend policy increasing the amount authorized for capital distribution to shareholders in light of the growing potential for stranded assets and decreasing profitability associated with capital expenditures on high cost, unconventional projects. 

Resolution Details


Lead Filer: 
As You Sow

Year: 2015

Filing Date: 
December 2014

Carbon Asset Risk

Status: 3.2%

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