Although ExxonMobil made nearly a $10 billion profit in its third quarter, the company recently said it has no plans to invest any of that money in developing alternative or renewable energy resources. It is fairly common for oil companies to invest in these areas, which makes ExxonMobil’s declaration unique.

“We’re an oil and gas company. In times past, when we tried to get into other businesses, we didn’t do it well. We’d rather reinvest in what we know,” said Exxon spokesperson Dave Gardner.

ExxonMobil’s Web site states that it understands the appeal of renewable energy being associated with the potential for long-term sustainability and environmental benefits. However, the site says, “In our view, current renewable technologies do not offer near-term promise for profitable investment relative to attractive opportunities that we see in our core business. Therefore, we have chosen not to pursue investments in renewable energy options.”

As ExxonMobil says it is not interested in putting its money toward renewable energy resources development, some other oil companies feel the opposite. One example is Chevron, which has focused its alternative energy research efforts on wind and geothermal energy projects. It believes these resources have the highest potential to generate significant energy while creating economic value. Chevron’s Web site says the company is also evaluating solar energy opportunities.

wind turbines

Wind turbines produce an alternative form of energy which is being researched by corporations such as Chevron and Shell. Photo Credit: DOE/NREL, Sandia National Laboratories

In addition, Chevron’s subsidiary company, Chevron Energy Solutions (CES), helps governments, educational institutions, and businesses with projects that involve energy efficiency and conservation. CES has worked with organizations such as the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Another example of an oil company investing in alternative and renewable energy resources is Shell. In 1997, the corporation established Shell Renewables, which focuses on solar and wind energy commercial opportunities. Other Shell divisions are involved with exploring biofuels, geothermal energy, and hydrogen. The company also operates a hydrogen refueling station in Washington, D.C., for people with hydrogen-powered cars.

DC hydrogen refuel

A hydrogen pump at the Shell hydrogen refueling station in Washington, D.C. NAFTC File Photo

While ExxonMobil expressed its disinterest in investing in alternative and renewable resources, it said it increased the energy efficiency of its own refineries and chemical plants by more than 3 percent last year. In addition, the company is investing $100 million over ten years in a Stanford University project that seeks out energy resources that have not yet been considered.

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