(Adds Exxon comment)
By Ernest Scheyder
April 3 Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's
largest publicly traded oil company, has agreed to disclose more
information about the environmental risks of hydraulic
fracturing, the process known as fracking.
In an agreement with New York City's pension funds, which
control Exxon shares worth roughly $1.02 billion, the company
would report on risks surrounding disposal of fracking waste
water, air pollution, methane emissions from oil and natural gas
wells, and other issues.
Exxon plans to compile the information and publish it as a
report on its website by September.
The New York City Comptroller's office, which controls the
city's pension funds, agreed as part of the deal to withdraw a
shareholder proposal that would have put the disclosure issue up
for a vote at the company's next annual meeting.
The comptroller's office said it essentially believes that
without such information, it cannot make adequate investment
decisions and thus part of the pension funds' investment could
be in danger.
"Corporate transparency in this arena is truly necessary for
assessing risk and ensuring that all stakeholders have the
information they need to make informed decisions," Scott
Stringer, the city's comptroller, said in a statement.
Last year a similar shareholder proposal received support
from roughly 30 percent of shares cast at Exxon's annual
An agreement with the comptroller, rather than a
confrontational shareholder vote, was the most constructive way
to address concerns about fracking with the public, said Exxon
spokesman Alan Jeffers.
"We understand people have concerns. This activity
(fracking) is somewhat new and not understood in some parts of
the country," Jeffers said. "People want more information and
the more they know, the better."
Exxon already discloses some information about its fracking
practices through FracFocus, an online registry listing specific
chemicals used for fracking across the United States.
The environmental group As You Sow, along with several
religious orders, had joined the comptroller's office in filing
the initial shareholder resolution.
Last month Exxon agreed to report on how it views the risks
that climate change could post to the value of its assets.
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Leslie Adler and