ExxonMobil is looking to tame carbon emissions and make it as big a priority in future operations as its oil and gas businesses, CEO Darren Woods said Wednesday.

During the annual investor day, Woods set a major new direction for the company, which took it on the chin last year with its first annual loss in modern history.

Faced with mounting shareholder criticism, Woods promised that ExxonMobil would become a leader in low-emission technologies. The company is counting on carbon capture sequestration and utilization (CCUS) as the initial way to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Hydrogen energy also is on the table longer term.

New political winds are blowing, with the Biden administration a proponent of reducing carbon emissions and advancing green energy. Meanwhile,...