How ExxonMobil Is Planning For A Future Of EVs
Well, Darren, it's good to be here. David, it's good to see you again. Remind me again, how many years have you been with ExxonMobil? 30 years this year. 30 years? 30 years, yeah. I want to start off on just electric vehicles.
How confident are you in terms of understanding the use of electric vehicles in this world, the sales, what that's going to look like in terms of the ramp up, and therefore the reduction potentially in gasoline products as a result? With respect to electric vehicles, you know, the first thing we did was, what's the relevance? How material is this to our business? And we did some work very early on. We said, let's just make the assumption that people began to shift and that ultimately every car in the world that's sold is electric and that ultimately, I think we got to by 2040, that every vehicle in the world is electric. And so you don't have gasoline cells anymore. What's the materiality of that to our business? And frankly, at the time that we did that, we projected by that time frame, oil demand would be what it was back in 2013, 2014 timeframe.
We were a pretty successful business in 2013 and 2014. So our view was, look, that change will come at some pace, but that's not going to make or break this business or this industry, quite frankly. That seems hard to imagine in a way, Darren, that you can sit here and tell me ExxonMobil in 2040, perhaps, is not going to really take a hit, so to speak, from a vast reduction in the use of gasoline on the planet. If you look going forward where the demand for oil, what's driving the growth in demand for oil, it's into chemical products which play a really important role in people's lives today.
And as you move forward into the future, irrespective of what scenario you want to paint, what transition pathway you're on, chemicals are going to continue to play a really important role. And so that's driving a lot of what we do. And part of the reason why we've invested in this plant here in Corpus Christi. The other big driver is industrial fuels, transportation fuels, and so heavy duty.
And that's going to play a big role in terms of the growth. And so those tend to be a bigger piece of what we do in terms of delivering value. And what I would tell you with time, as that transition happens, the way we've positioned ourselves is, we can use the facilities that we have today to make gasoline and diesel and use those to make biofuels. And so our strategy in this space is to make sure that we've built in optionality and flexibility, given the inability for the world to predict exactly how that transition is going to progress. But to make sure that we're positioned that as society evolves, as the demand
evolves, that we're in a position to supply that, irrespective of where that demand shifts to. So that's the strategy that we have. We don't view ourselves as being in the gasoline business per se or being in the diesel business. It's basically providing products that people need, manipulating hydrocarbon molecules to deliver that. And I think if you look forward into the future, hydrocarbon molecules are going to continue to play an important role, albeit a different one. All right.
Tell me, I mean, let's go to 2040. It sounds far away in some ways, but if you and I sit here and talk about 2004, that doesn't sound like it was that long ago. That's the same amount of time. So, you know, it will be here before we know it in some way. What is the company, assuming those forecasts that you just shared with us are more or less correct in terms of electric vehicles, at least in their preponderance and the use for getting around on the on the planet, what is ExxonMobil then do you think look like as a company? So, you know, we launched a low carbon solutions business. So some of the work that we began on quite some time ago was understanding, what is it going to take to decarbonize the world and to lower emissions across all aspects of an economy? Electric vehicles is a very small part of that equation, quite frankly. Industrial complexes and the emissions associated with industry, with power generation, with heavy duty transport, those play a big role and don't have good solutions today.
So we have been doing a lot of work around, how do you solve that problem in an economically feasible way and one that is as cost effective as possible? And the work that we've done and got us very focused on carbon capture and storage, which allows you to address the fundamental issue here. I think it's important to remember, the fundamental issue is not oil and gas itself, it's the emissions that are associated with the combustion of oil and gas. Scope Three is what we're talking about, right? Well, no. I'm talking about general emissions: Scope One, Scope Two, Scope Three. And and so how do we deal with those emissions? And carbon capture and storage is a great way of dealing with heavy duty industry emissions, capturing those emissions, while not replacing the infrastructure without spending the cost to completely retool your industrial processes.
We think that's going to be a really important part of the equation, part of the solution, to solving this emissions challenge. And so we've been doing work in that space to lower the cost of carbon capture so that we can then begin to work in the industrial sector to lower emissions. That was part of the underlying motive for the Houston Hub complex that we announced in Baytown, a world-scale reduction of carbon on industrial plants using carbon capture and storage.
Hydrogen is going to be another really important source of emissions-free energy that we can use to substitute hydrocarbons today that are emitting emissions when you burn them. We can put hydrogen in place, that's going to be a really important part of the equation. And biofuels will be an important part of the equation. And we can repurpose our facilities to run biofuels. And so I think what you're going to see as you head to 2040 is those elements begin to play a bigger and bigger role in ExxonMobil's story and our portfolio of products.
So I mean, it's funny, I mentioned 2040 and the first thing you mentioned was carbon capture. You really believe that that does have a true future here at the company? Not only do I believe that, I would tell you that most independent third parties who look at what's going to be required to solve this problem come back to carbon capture. And if you think about it fundamentally, it is the most cost effective solution.
If you can get the technology to effectively capture dilute streams of CO2 and concentrate that down so you can store it economically, that technology will allow you to leave existing infrastructure in place. You don't have to throw out everything you've been working on for the last 150 years, but instead capture the source of the issue, which is the emissions, and then store those safely. And there's huge opportunities to do that.
And carbon capture is a demonstrated technology that works today. The challenge with carbon capture today is that technology requires high concentration of CO2 streams to be economic in its application. The Houston Hub obviously is perfect for it, in part because of those streams that you're talking about, correct? Part of that. There is an element of high concentrated streams that you can use to economically capture that. But power generation, furnaces and industrial processes, those streams tend to be much more dilute and therefore be much more expensive to concentrate and store.
And that's where you need some additional incentives as you work on bringing the cost of the technology down. And so that's what we've been focused on is, how do you get the cost of that technology down? My view is if you look at our industry and our company in particular, the evolution and success of the company has come from our work in technology and the advances that we've made in technology. What would be an example? Long reach drilling, the catalytic process. So we invented what they call "cat cracking", which is how you make more Mogas out of a barrel of crude. We invented that. Butyl rubber we invented. So we have a lot of history of developing technology to address demands in society. This, in my mind, is another demand that lends itself to our technical capabilities.
I am absolutely convinced that as we continue to put the resources in this space, not only our company, but the industry as a whole and governments, that we'll find breakthroughs in the technology that drive that cost down and allow us to most cost-effectively remove carbon from the atmosphere. You just think about this, David. If we had direct air capture, and I think I mentioned this to you last time we talked We talked about this, yeah. The Holy Grail. It is. Because if you can capture CO2.
But you can't do it at any level right now that makes any s ense, right? The technologies today, the processes that we're using are too expensive. But, you know, we're at the early stages of that. And that's true if you go back in time across a lot of these technologies. They've always started off at a high cost and then you focus your intent to drive that cost down.
And I think in my mind there's lots of opportunities to do that in that space. You know, can you say with 100% confidence that we'll have the breakthrough and we'll be there? No, I don't think you can say that. I think you can place your bets that there's a good chance for it. But it comes back to another part of the strategy is make sure you have a diversified approach. Because there are challenges with every alternative that we're looking at. Wind and solar has its challenges.
The wind doesn't blow everywhere. The sun doesn't always shine. You got to have ways to manage the intermittency of those. You've got to have batteries that today don't exist to bridge the gaps of those intermittencies. So I think there's challenges across all these spaces. I do believe that in all these spaces, technology is going to start to address those.
And our view is companies who want to get involved in that ought to focus in the areas where they can contribute the most value. And is that why you feel that the carbon capture in particular is something where you can do that, as opposed to perhaps solar or wind, where you've made a choice, you've said this, that you don't necessarily feel that the core competency lends itself to that? Yeah. So I think one thing, you know, when we talk about energy as this kind of monolithic industry, the reality is wind and solar is power generation. We're not in the power generation business today. We provide fuel for power generation.
We also provide fuels for vehicles. Nobody's asking us to make electric vehicles. So I think, you know, as we look at that one, it's a different business.
That we could certainly look at going into. And we've evaluated that. But we don't see bringing the core competencies that we have and having an advantage necessarily there. We don't think it fulfills the responsibilities that we have to our shareholders to invest our capital wisely in areas where we can differentiate ourselves. So we believe that wind and solar has a really important role to play in the future in terms of providing emissions-free power generation.
We just don't think it makes sense, particularly wind on land and solar. Now there may be something offshore. We continue to evaluate that and offshore wind, but we've looked at that and think that's not where our talents can best be leveraged to provide unique advantage and generate returns. Instead, focus on the areas where we have a lot of expertise. We have a very long history of carbon capture. We capture more anthropogenic CO2 than anybody else in the world.
Well a lot of it is used to help get oil out of the ground, too, correct? Some of it's used to do that. Some of it's stored. So we have that experience and our view is there are technical challenges today to bring that cost down. But what better place for us to work than the processes and the catalysts, the materials, everything that we have historically focused on from a technology R&D standpoint, lends itself to making advances in carbon capture. Same with hydrogen. You have a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050 Scope One, Scope Two.
Right. Or an ambition. And the Houston Hub, which is one of your key projects, obviously in collaboration with other producers down there, Baytown, obviously, which is yours, you could capture an awful lot of carbon . Absolutely. But we've talked to experts who indicate you're going to need, by 2050, in terms of what you're actually capturing, along the idea that you have of continuing to operate these but actually capturing, something like 4 trillion tons a year. I think Houston Hub would be 50 million tons a year. By 2030 and 100 million tons per year by 2040. Okay, 100 million by 2040.
That's an enormous amount. But you're going to need how many of these things to reach the global goal in terms of actually getting to that neutrality you talk about? No doubt about it. But I think the point you just made is the point that we started on a little while back, which is this is a huge system. You know, the global energy system is enormous. And so, yeah, if you're going to capture the emissions associated with using today's industry, it's going to require an enormous amount of investment to capture those emissions.
Likewise, if you're going to replace the entire global energy system today, it's going to require even more investment. So no matter which way you look at this, it's a huge challenge with lots of investment required. The question is, what's the most economic, the lowest cost way of getting to it with the least amount of investment? So carbon capture. The advantage with that is you get to use what you've already got and address the issue that people are focused on, which is reducing emissions. That's the advantage that we've got here and the challenge is getting the cost down.
And, again, a challenge consistent with a lot of our companies expertise, but I'd say more broadly, industry's expertise. And so we think that's going to be an important part of the equation. I wouldn't suggest to you that there's only one solution that's needed. I think in order for us to be successful, the world to be successful in this space, we need a lot of different solutions. And every company, every part of society working in the elements where they can bring the most value. That's how you get to better answers. Rather than everyone focusing on putting their bets on one set of solutions, when you step back and think about it, is it practical? Is it cost effective? Will society be able to bear the burden of that? And our view is, if you go back in time, diversified approaches in technology, when you don't know exactly where the breakthroughs are going to come, is a really critical element of a successful strategy going forward. It just occurs to me, I'm sitting here with the chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, and the idea that climate change is manmade is not even a question anymore then in your mind, is it? No, no.
And it hasn't been for a long, long time. But it was when 30 years ago, a company was not of that position. When you first started. No, I think if you go back in time and look at the science, it was always understood that CO2 in the atmosphere had the potential for warming.
And the question was, how far would that go and exactly what would be the warming impact? That's what the science has been working on for the past 30 years. It wasn't a question of does it impact it? The question was how much does it impact it? And frankly, as the understanding of science developed, our understanding developed with that science. We've always been plugged in to the science and the development. And our thinking has evolved with the general industry's, the general scientific community's understanding of this. So it was never a question about the driving forces.
It was how would that eventually manifest itself? And very importantly, what are the thoughtful policies that we should be pursuing to try to address that? Recognizing the further back you go, there were some less understanding than there is today. And by the way, in five years time, ten years time, there will be even more understanding and more technology advances. And so I think, you know, we've been pretty consistent in terms of being on par with the development and thinking in the broader scientific community. So I mean, Lee Raymond is sort of called out as having been more or less a denier of the science, even internally at the company where there seem to be indications that the science did indicate climate change was largely manmade. I know that people have pointed to the op-eds, but I think if you read, you know, rather than pulling sentences out of anyone op-ed, read the whole of the op-ed, I think they're always clear that there is a need to approach this challenge thoughtfully and make sure that the policies are designed in a way that most effectively address the challenge in front of us. And to recognize where you don't know things, the more work you've got to do in that space.
I think that has been the company's position for quite some time. And I'll come back to where we're at today, which is we need to focus on the areas where we think we can contribute and add the most value and not drive down a path that is the one path that everyone has concluded is the right answer, but instead recognize this is a challenging space. There's a lot of uncertainty in this space in terms of how you're going to address this challenge and reduce emissions.
Let's make sure that we're each focusing in the areas where we can contribute the most benefit. And for us, it's in those technical areas that you and I have talked about. But I wonder, Darren, and the reason I bring up Lee Raymond, obviously it's 20 plus years ago at this point, but nonetheless, I wonder whether your voice is discounted to a certain extent in what has to be a cooperative venture, whether it is with the industry players, whether it is with government, or even whether it is with people who are environmentally focused on reducing things as quickly as possible. Do you think that ExxonMobil's a trusted partner, or perhaps not as trusted as it might otherwise be, because of what the company was saying and doing 20 plus years ago? I think what happened is there's a transition happening.
As you move from what I would say, are people talking about the need to do something to people actually figuring out what to do and implementing what to do, the role for ExxonMobil becomes more clear and our involvement and engagement becomes more important. And I would tell you, when we launched the Low Carbon Solutions, which was really a way to, you know, we were focused on, one, having a business that would allow us to ultimately commercialize new technologies that we're developing. And also look for opportunities around the world where you could use existing technologies, recognizing the constraints, the economics associated with that. But there are select places where it made sense to do that, or there are places where you had the right kind of policy in place to do that. So that was the Low Carbon Solutions business.
That was our intent for launching it. And to give the Biden administration a marquee project that says, here's an opportunity. If you want to think about policies that drive significant step change reductions in CO2, here's a project that we think does it at a much lower cost than many of the existing policies out there today.
And so it's kind of a win-win proposition. Something to become part of the debate in the conversation. What we didn't anticipate when we launched that was the reaction we'd get around the world, for governments to call on us and ask us to engage with them on similar types of opportunities in their area, in their regions. So you're telling me, I mean, what I'm hearing you say is, no, you feel like you are a trusted partner. That you don't bear any of the brunt of perhaps a history of being seen as the deniers of climate change.
I think what I would say is there's a transition. And as you move to judge us on what we're doing today, not the perceptions of what was said 20 or 30 years ago, but what are we doing today to try to bring solutions to the real world? I think if you talk to the folks who are involved in discovering new technologies, we've got to see the table and we're contributing. We're working with universities, we're working with private venture funds. And so I think in the technology space, people recognize that we're serious, we have capabilities, and we're at the table trying to bring solutions to that.
If you look at where we do big projects and are investing, people see an opportunity to do things at scale. And we have a reputation for doing big projects at scale. Convening industries, bringing together different parts, governments, other commercial enterprises to come up with big picture solutions. We've been doing that for 100 years. People can see the opportunity there, which is what we're doing in the Houston Hub.
So I think, ultimately, our actions will speak louder than words 30 years ago. And my view is, that's what we need to be focused on. Right. And we can spend forever debating what was said 30 years ago, or we can focus on, what are we doing today to try to make progress in this very complex space? Leveraging the talents and capability of our organization and the people that we have.
And I'm very proud of what we're doing today. And I think we will make a big difference. We will be an important part of the solution, absolutely convinced of that. But you need government to believe you as well. I mean, you've mentioned any number of times, if a price on carbon were to increase, that conceivably would incent you even more.
Or certainly make certain things that you may be considering as a business that is in business to make money to do. I mean, you were in Washington very recently getting excoriated by certainly one side of the aisle, at least, for things that, frankly, are not based on economics and made no sense. So you can sit here and tell me that you see government as a partner. But I could also say that they don't seem to see you as anything, at least in certain circles, as the enemy. Yeah, I think, you know how those House committee, the testimonies, you know, what they're used for. And I would separate that from what I would say is the legitimate dialogue that we have where
people want to understand what opportunities are available and what's the industry perspective on those things, what are the challenges associated with the different solutions? I would tell you we've had very good, constructive engagement with today's government, the administration that's in place today, and the regulators that are in place. I would tell you we had that when the Trump administration was in. We had that when the Obama administration was in. So, you know, I think there's the public perception and some of the positioning that people will for different reasons. And then there's the what happens behind the scenes when you try to put pen to paper and solve these problems. And I think, you know, some of the things that we have historically done as a company in terms of being intellectually honest, you know, doing the hard work to understand these things, be objective in our assessments.
Our philosophy around the business is, we don't go in and advocate for special deals or breaks or, you know, we're not looking for some kind of advantage given to us by the government. We're looking for a level playing field. We're looking for solutions and policies where communities benefit. But what's a level playing field mean? You know, what does that actually mean? Don't pick winners and losers on technology as an example. Don't incentivize one technology because you think that's a better answer than the other.
Put incentives out there for all technologies and let the productive capacity of the market work. Let the technologies of companies go to work to solve those problems. One of the reasons why we are an advocate for a uniform price on carbon across the economy is because it incentivizes every individual player, irrespective of the industry you're in, irrespective of the technology that you support, or your technology capabilities, to put your effort into finding a solution to capture that value and reduce CO2. That's what we argue for from a level playing field. You know, it's too complicated, it's too difficult to predict exactly what the solution is going to look like, and we shouldn't try to.
Instead, we should put the incentives out there and let the market do what the market does. So what? The subsidies for solar should be equivalent to, in some way, the subsidies, and or the— Put a price on carbon that, you know, this is the benefit associated with every ton of carbon that you reduce. There's a value to that. Everyone goes and competes for that. That is now a level playing field and to the extent that in certain areas wind and solar will have an advantage, I have no doubt of that.
They'll capitalize on that advantage and bring that production to market. And good for them. That's exactly what we need to have. In other areas where they're not advantaged, there'll be another technology that drives that advantage and that will then win. And then what you've got then is the most economically efficient solution. Let me just give you one example to think about. When we talk about hydrogen, blue hydrogen and green hydrogen. Europeans are making a strong case for green hydrogen.
There is a role for green hydrogen, which is, you know, hydrogen made through electrolysis and using electricity. Blue hydrogen is used primarily through methane and then capturing the CO2 that comes off it. The U.S. has a huge natural resource for blue hydrogen. We've got abundant methane.
We've got abundant places to store CO2. And so the answer for hydrogen in the U.S., I think, is going to be blue hydrogen, where you can take advantage of the natural resources of the United States and come up with emissions-free energy sources.
In Europe, they don't have the same abundance of methane, they don't have the same CO2 capture capacity. So electrolysis and green hydrogen makes more sense for them. And so, rather than coming out with a dictate that says it's got to be green hydrogen or it's got to be blue hydrogen, let the market figure out how best to meet that. And what we will find as you go around the world that the natural endowments, the advantages that you see, the technology progress that you see, is going to manifest itself differently.
And we shouldn't care as long as it's achieving the objective, which is to lower the emissions. Right. But you are, to a certain extent, reliant on government acting rationally. And even in the course of our reporting here, state of California, I think, pays a fairly high tax break on sequestering carbon.
But you can't do it there. It's impossible to actually put it in the ground there. And there are countless examples of government having policies that seem to actually reverse on themselves and therefore nullify any real gain.
Is that frustrating? Yeah, absolutely. I think. But, you know, we're at a point of, I think, transformational change. And if we're going to move down this path and transform the world's energy system, governments are going to have to play their part.
And they're going to have to do it effectively. And to the extent that they're not doing it today, we're not going to make the progress that we need. It is that simple. And so I think, you know, that's I think the challenge for all of us. Industry's got to step up and do its part.
Our company is trying to do that, but government's going to have a really important role to play. And I think what we're seeing play out today, frankly, here in the U.S. and in Europe, is what happens when you're not thoughtful long term about the potential consequences of the policy and the unintended consequences of that.
And so, yes, you're right. You know, governments are going to play an important role in that. I think that's why they're there, frankly, for these types of things. And what I think our company has to do, and society more broadly, is make sure that the people that we're electing to go into government are focused on the issues that we care about and trying to solve them.
And if climate change is one of those and reducing emissions is one of those, then we need to elect the people who have a thoughtful approach to addressing that. Well, that's a great hope. It's a big challenge. It's a big challenge. And you've got a lot riding on that in particular. David, I would say we don't just have a lot riding on it. Everyone does this.
Yeah. This will not be solved without that. And so, you know, we can talk about the risk it poses to our company. I would tell you it poses the same risk to every company in terms of trying to solve this problem. Because a very narrow approach to trying to solve this, where government picks a solution, won't solve this problem holistically.
And it won't do it in a cost effective manner. Right. We've been to the Permian, seen your operations there, learned a great deal. But again, to this problem, there are those who say, at this point, if we're going to keep to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, or keep it below that, which is the goal, obviously, you need, what, 60% of existing oil and gas reserves currently underground would have to stay there. You're increasing production in the Permian. And in fact, a lot of people are applauding that right now, given the current situation, which I want to talk about.
But how do you view that balance then, Darren, and those who say, you've got to keep your reserves in the ground if we're ever going to get close to the goals that we have. So I think you've got to come back to what we've been talking about for quite some time, which is this dual challenge. And remember, why is everyone today applauding the increase in production? It's because we don't have the supply available to meet the demand. And a lot of the conversation has been focused on the supply side of the equation. You can't think about and focus on just supply without balancing it with demand, because at the end of the day, we're meeting a market demand. And if you don't have a good alternative for that demand, all you do is shifting production from one entity to another.
And so it has to be looked at in concert. You have to look at both the demand side of the equation and the supply side of the equation. And so to the extent we don't have cost-effective alternatives that society is going to rely on to meet the needs so critical to their standards of living and economic progress, they're going to call on those sources today that are economic.
And if it's not ExxonMobil producing, it'll be somebody someplace else around the world doing that until we come up with those economic alternatives to replace and fulfill that demand. So we always start with, what options are available for society to meet the demand that we know is critical to their standards of living and for the aspirations to improve that standard of living? And if you don't have good alternatives, focus on developing those alternatives. But in the meantime, you've got to continue to meet that demand. And what we're seeing in today's market demonstrates why you have to be thinking about both sides of that equation.
Right. But, I mean, so those who hear you say that are going to be sorely disappointed by the idea then that somehow you're going to not develop the resources that are available to you. Well, what we're trying to do is develop them in the most environmentally responsible way possible. So if you look at what we're doing in the Permian, it is true. We are growing production in the Permian, but we have committed to a net zero emissions in our Permian production by 2030. So there's an example of where we're growing production and reducing emissions.
And in fact, if you look at our business from 2016 with the Paris Accord forward, we have reduced our emissions ever year. And it's very impressive. And we've been there and we've seen what you're doing.
You're going to be basically capturing all routine flaring of methane by the end of 2022. You mentioned the electrification essentially that's going on there as well in the Permian. But that's Scope One and Scope Two. I mean, the critics would say, well, yeah, okay, but you're still taking carbon out of the ground and then it's going to be burned and go into the air. And that's the real problem.
And that comes back to the demand equation and what alternatives people have to meet their needs. And so that's, I think, where the, you know, until you have good solutions to address that demand, those emissions will be generated. And so the challenge is working on alternatives that continue to meet that demand.
Biofuels is a great example of that, why we're so focused on biofuels that you can eventually bring in a lower emissions source. But that is the challenge. And I think that's if you look not just here in the U.S., but around the world, that is the challenge for developing countries where people are living in energy poverty. How do you provide a cost effective, affordable, reliable source of energy to help them rise out of that economic hole? And we've got to have a solution to that. We can't turn a blind eye to it.
And I think that's, how do you balance that and what can you do to progress that side of the equation while reducing the emissions? But this all or nothing approach, David, I think is going to end up slowing down ultimate progress. There ought to be a recognition that this is going to require a true transition and an evolution, and part of it will be driven by technology and the development of technology and why we need to, as a country, a world, and as a company, put the money into developing the technologies that are going to be needed to solve this problem. No doubt. But there are a number of variables there. Government, which I don't know that can be relied on, but you seem to be somewhat confident it has to be. And human behavior, which is also sometimes pretty hard to predict too, isn't it? Yeah, I think it comes back to, you know, you can go back in time.
The world has overcome significant challenges and technologies always played a really important role. And I think today and as we move forward, the more folks that we have engaged trying to solve this problem, I think the better off the world is going to be. I've seen a big difference just in the last several years with the number of different companies, big thinkers, focused in this space about what is it going to take to actually make this happen, to make this conversion? And you're getting a broader understanding of the solution set that's required. I mean, two years ago, it was wind and solar, period.
Today it's wind and solar and you've got carbon capture and hydrogen and biofuels and ammonia. So already, in the course of a very short period of time, there's a much broader recognition that there are a number of solutions required to make this thing work. And so as you make progress in that space, I think you're going to see policies start to slowly come. I'm not underestimating the challenge associated with that.
I'm just suggesting to you that we've got to overcome that challenge if we're going to be successful. Right. Well, you've made a decision to spend, what, $15 billion over the next six years? Through 2027, that's right, yeah. You know, but I mean, this is a company that spent, what, your CapEx last year I think was $16.6 billion in
2021. You earned $23 billion. Again, people say, well, $15 billion is a lot of money, but why can't it be even more? It's a function of the opportunity set.
I think it's actually a false comparison. If you think about taking a mature global energy system that's supplying the world's needs today and what it takes to offset the depletion that is associated with the production of oil and gas, the scale of that, and compare that to developing a brand new, a nascent, business and industry, and then compare the two and say, well, one is so much smaller than the other, you can't possibly be serious about it. What I would argue is, no, it's the difference of where they're at on their maturity curves. And my expectation is that as the opportunities develop, as we do more work in that, as the technology gets better, as the incentives begin to form, both market and government, that you'll see that investment grow. But they're at two different stages of their life cycle. And to try to compare the two of those, I think, you know, there's no different than when electric vehicles first came.
Even today, if you look at the percentage of electric vehicles meeting the transportation needs in the world, it is a very small percentage. Nobody seems to be pointing to that to say, well, that just demonstrates that nobody's serious about electric vehicles. It demonstrates the fact that that is at the early stages of its development and with time will grow.
No different from the investments that we're making today.