Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

London — US oil companies Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum will join an oil industry climate-change group led by their European rivals, after refusing to do so for years.

The companies will become members of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) on September 24, the group said.

The OGCI was founded in 2014 by the heads of BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Saudi Aramco and seven others based in Europe and Asia. It invests in carbon-reduction ventures.

The U-turn by the US oil majors puts them at odds with their country’s president, Donald Trump, who is trying to relax rules governing greenhouse-gas emissions and last year vowed to pull the US out of the landmark Paris climate agreement.

In 2015, the heads of the six largest oil companies in Europe broke ranks with their US counterparts, calling on governments to agree on carbon pricing at a climate summit in Paris.

Exxon and Chevron are now under new leadership, and have come closer to the views of their European competitors.

"It will take the collective efforts of many in the energy industry and society to develop scalable, affordable solutions that will be needed to address the risks of climate change," Exxon CEO Darren Woods said. "This dual challenge is one of the most important issues facing society and our company."

With the three US firms, the OGCI will have 13 members. Together, they represent about 30% of global oil and gas production.