Environment News

SEC Investigating Exxon on Valuing Assets, Accounting Practices

According to the Wall Street Journal, the federal government is investigating ExxonMobil’s accounting practices due to their valuing of oil reserves and how it expects business to be affected by climate change.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating how ExxonMobil has valued its assets in the face of the current plunge in oil prices and how it estimates their future worth due to increasing climate change regulations.

The SEC sought documentation in August from Exxon as well as the company’s auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. A continuing probe into similar instances last year by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has continued, a formal investigation sprouting.

“Exxon is the only major U.S. energy producer that hasn’t taken a write-down or impairment charge since oil prices plunged two years ago. Peers including Chevron Corp. have lowered valuations by a collective $50 billion.

“The agency specifically asked what would happen to Exxon under a scenario envisioned by last year’s Paris climate talks—if greenhouse gas emissions were reduced 80% by 2050. Some investors have pressured oil companies to conduct such climate “stress tests.” Exxon fought a shareholder proposal on the matter at its annual meeting in May, saying additional disclosure was unnecessary.”

2ndVote previously reported on the story when Massachusetts Attorney General joined the Exxon witch-hunt and issued subpoenas for communications between the oil giant and conservative organizations. This new revelation comes after the AG for the U.S. Virgin Islands was forced to withdraw a similar demand involving the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

ExxonMobil has taken liberal-leaning environmental positions regarding climate change and has encouraged Congress to establish carbon taxes. More on ExxonMobil’s policy positions can be found on the company’s scorepage.

2ndVote will continue to monitor the story.