Image courtesy of the Securities and Exchange Commission/Flickr.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly looking into ExxonMobil’s accounting practices and how the company evaluates the potential impact of climate regulation.

Sources told the Wall Street Journal that the SEC asked both ExxonMobil and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the company’s auditor, for information and documents last month.

The sources told the Journal that the SEC has also received documents that Exxon handed over as part of a probe being conducted by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The SEC’s probe is reportedly looking into how Exxon calculates the potential business impacts of climate change, including how it calculates the potential costs of complying with future climate regulations and how those costs affect asset values.

The agency is also reportedly looking into why ExxonMobil has yet to write down the value of its reserves despite two years of low oil prices.

Exxon is the only U.S. oil major that has yet to take write downs or impairment charges since oil prices began falling in late 2014.

Exxon has previously said that it relies on conservative estimates when booking asset values to ensure that projects can operate profitably even when commodity prices are low.

“We are fully complying with the SEC request for information and are confident our financial reporting meets all legal and accounting requirements,” an Exxon spokesman told the Journal.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the SEC and the New York Attorney General’s Office have not commented on the matter.

News of the SEC’s probe comes just days after the Wall Street Journal reported that New York Attorney General’s Office is investigating Exxon’s write down practices.

Schneiderman’s office is also reportedly investigating whether Exxon misled investors about the potential business impacts related to climate change.

Exxon confirmed in November that it received a subpoena from Schneiderman’s office for documents “relating to climate change.”

The New York Attorney General’s Office has not disclosed details or commented on that investigation.

Exxon has denied any wrongdoing and has noted that it has included information about climate related business risks for many years in its 10-K, Corporate Citizenship Report, and in other reports to shareholders.

Reports of the New York Attorney General’s probe emerged last year after InsideClimate News and the L.A. Times published reports that alleged Exxon used climate data to make operational decisions while working to publicly downplay the science on global warming.

Those reports prompted two California congressmen to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to assess if the company failed to disclose “truthful information” about climate change.

The DOJ referred the request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in March.

No official investigation has been ordered and the FBI is not obligated to investigate the matter.

Exxon has called those reports “inaccurate and deliberately misleading.”


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