ExxonMobil under investigation by US financial watchdog over oil valuations
Securities and Exchange Commission looking into how fossil fuel giant valued its assets since oil prices fell two years ago
Oliver Milman in New York
Wednesday 21 September 2016 16.29 BST
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into ExxonMobil over how the fossil fuel giant has valued its assets in the wake of falling oil prices and increasing climate change-related regulations.
The company has confirmed that the US’s top financial watchdog is seeking information on its financial reporting. Documents have been sought from Exxon as well as its auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Exxon is the only major energy producer that hasn’t lowered its valuations since oil prices fell two years ago. Shares in Exxon fell by 1.5% to $82.54 on Tuesday, before rallying slightly on Wednesday morning.
The SEC investigation will also look at what Exxon has told investors about its assets in the context of growing international action on climate change. Last year, it was revealed that Exxon knew about climate change as early as 1981, only to spend millions of dollars in the following decades to deny its existence. Its intervention on the issue extended into the early days of the George W Bush presidency.