The Lamp 2017

A wide aperture

into the future Top researchers focus on emerging energy technologies.

When wildcatter Edwin Drake drilled the first commercial oil well in 1859, striking oil some 69 feet below ground in Titusville, Pennsylvania, who could have imagined today’s drilling platforms tapping oil 30,000 feet below the surface of the ocean? But looking into the future is key to meeting the world’s energy needs, which are expected to increase 25 percent by 2040. An ExxonMobil team of senior-level scientists, engineers, and research and development executives has dedicated themselves to imagining our energy future, evaluating technology research opportunities that range from improving today’s energy efficiency to advancing the alternative energy sources of tomorrow.

“Technology is the lifeblood of this industry,” says T.J. Wojnar Jr., vice president, Corporate Strategic Planning. “There have been significant breakthroughs over the entire evolution of energy, and ExxonMobil has been at the forefront of many of those. By 2040, the world will have more than 2 billion additional people who need access to energy, and the developing nations of today will want an efficient, effective and reliable energy supply.” Predicting the future ExxonMobil looks at the energy landscape up to 2040 and beyond to understand the role resources and products will play, and how the entire energy landscape could evolve.

Wojnar says a key challenge to predicting the future is forecasting future technologies. “Technology developments are one of the key drivers of improvements in our standards of living and economic progress,” he says. “So as we look to the future, we want to keep a sharp eye on technology developments that we think will improve lives and help provide new types of energy and improved ways of delivering energy.” A unique in-house team of more than 150 Ph.D.s in the Corporate Strategic Research organization tracks technology trends and alternate energy breakthroughs to assist Wojnar’s planning group in its development of ExxonMobil’s

Story by Tracy Torma


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