Unnamed sources have informed U.S. media outlets that Donald Trump wants the head of the world's largest publicly traded oil company to become America's top diplomat.
Rex Tillerson has been CEO of ExxonMobil since 2006 and added the title of chairman in 2008.
He has worked closely with Russian president Vladimir Putin's regime to ensure ExxonMobil has drilling rights in the Arctic.
Tillerson must still be confirmed by the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate before becoming secretary of state.
U.S. journalist Steve Coll exposed ExxonMobil's efforts to influence geopolitics in his landmark 2012 book Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power.
In it, Coll revealed how Tillerson and other executives took the long view, concluding that U.S. administrations only lasted for four or eight years, whereas they had to make decisions on 40-year time horizons.
Private Empire paid particular attention to competition between ExxonMobil and state-owned oil companies for dwindling supplies of conventional oil. (It's far less expensive to extract per barrel than by fracking oil from shale deposits.)
Coll's book also reported extensively on human-rights abuses that took place against ExxonMobil's critics in other countries, which is why Private Empire is attracting a lot of attention today on Twitter.
In addition, Coll reported on how ExxonMobil funded the climate-change denial movement to sow doubts that fossil-fuel use was contributing to global warming.
To achieve its corporate objectives, ExxonMobil was extremely active persuading influential politicians in many countries, including Chad, Nigeria, and Indonesia, to secure proven resources.
This helped boost the corporate balance sheet, keeping stock prices high even though there's no way all that petroleum could be burned without causing havoc to the climate.
There's already been an intense reaction to the news that Tillerson is likely to become secretary of state.
The climate-justice group 350.org has asked its supporters for donations so it can launch a massive campaign to oppose Tillerson's confirmation as secretary of state.
"We’re going to fight back against Tillerson’s nomination and the rest of Trump’s Climate Denial Cabinet, including Scott Pruitt at the EPA and Cathy McMorris Rodgers at Interior," the group said in an email this afternoon. "Here's our plan to keep the world's largest oil company out of the State Department:
"Make sure the climate movement and the majority of Americans who rejected Trump know how reckless his appointments are. We'll start with ads and op-eds in states with Republican Senators who say they believe in climate science, but who have stayed silent on these nominations.
"Pressure every single Senator to oppose Trump’s nominations with emails, direct calls, and actions in the streets. In particular, no one who agrees with the science on climate change should even consider putting the world's biggest oil company in charge of our foreign policy. Action needs to be swift.
"Turn Tillerson's Senate hearing into a full-scale investigation of Exxon's decades of climate deception. Before he goes to the State Department, he'll go under oath in front of the whole Senate."