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Exxon Threatens to Take Billions of Dollars in Climate Investment Out of the EU

Exxon has warned the European Union that it will leave and take billions of dollars in climate investment with it unless Brussels makes it easier to spend those billions on transition-related projects.

The Financial Times cited the company today as saying that there was way too much red tape in the EU and it took too long to get a project going, which prompted the supermajor to consider spending its $20 billion in decarbonization investments for 2022-2027 elsewhere.

“When we make investments, we’ve got very long time horizons in mind. I would say that recent developments in Europe have not instilled confidence in long-term, predictable policies,” Karen McKee, president of Exxon Product Solutions, told the FT.

“What we’re experiencing is the deindustrialisation of the European economy and we’re concerned,” McKee also said.

The European Union’s leadership has promised time and again it will facilitate transition projects but it seems it has been slow to act on this promise. According to Exxon—and a lot of other companies involved in the transition—getting a project off the ground in the EU is fraught with regulatory obstacles and “slow and torturous” permitting and funding procedures, per Exxon’s McKee.

The EU’s Green Deal plan features a “predictable and simplified regulatory environment” as one of its four pillars but judging from the reactions of the business world, this has yet to go from theory to practice. Faster access to funding is the second pillar in the EU’s lineup but that, too, is taking quite long to materialize.

It is these delays in implementation that have prompted business leaders to meet today in Belgium to press the EU leadership into going from words to actions. There is growing concern that the regulatory burden put on businesses is scaring them away, taking investments elsewhere.

There are also some European leaders, notably France’s Emmanuel Macron and Belgium’s Alexander de Croo, who have blamed red tape for the farmers’ protests.

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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