Chevron’s geographical transition sends bad signal

Gas prices are advertised at a Chevron station as rising inflation and oil costs affect the consumers in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 13, 2022. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

NEW YORK, Sept 29 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Chevron (CVX.N) is joining the migration to the Lone Star State. The $285 billion oil and gas driller has sold its California campus and is moving about 200 more employees to Texas. It still has a large Golden State presence and will keep its headquarters there, and the decision makes some sense. Even so, it sends a bad signal about energy transition.

Texas offers low taxes for both companies and individuals, and as a result attracted more than 310,000 new residents between 2020 and 2021, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, accounting for nearly 8 out of 10 U.S. relocations. California lost more than 261,000 people over the same span. Texas Governor Greg Abbott is reveling. He tweeted just last month that “Texas does it AGAIN!” when cell therapy company Cellipont decided to relocate.

Given the relaxed approach to drilling and climate change in Texas, however, the latest choices by Chevron Chief Executive Mike Wirth warrant a raise of the eyebrow. Compared to his many Texas-based peers, his company gets some credit for operating in a state that champions green energy and electric vehicles. If proximity signals adaptation, Chevron seems to be moving slowly in the wrong direction. (By Lauren Silva Laughlin)

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)

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