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ExxonMobil CEO highlights growth plans, advances in lower-carbon solutions

by Martin Menachery on Jun 1, 2018


Darren Woods, chairman and CEO, ExxonMobil.
Darren Woods, chairman and CEO, ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil plans to more than double earnings potential by 2025 while addressing the risks of climate change through continued research into breakthrough lower-carbon technologies, chairman and CEO Darren Woods told shareholders during the company’s annual meeting.

Meeting the world’s growing energy needs will require trillions of dollars in new investment across industry, even under a scenario to limit the global increase in temperature to two degrees Celsius, Woods said. The company will continue to focus on investments that take advantage of its technology leadership, integrated businesses and highly skilled employees.

“Through record discoveries, world-class acquisitions and growing access to attractive markets, we have put together the best portfolio of new investments since the Exxon-Mobil merger nearly 20 years ago,” Woods said. “Our investments are robust to a wide range of price environments, and they leverage our competitive advantages in technology, integration and, most importantly, our people.”

Lower-cost-of-supply investments in US tight oil, deepwater and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are key drivers behind ExxonMobil’s plans, and are supported by a suite of industry-leading technologies, including advanced seismology, integrated reservoir modelling and data analytics.

The company has announced it would increase tight oil production in the US Permian Basin five-fold, and start up 25 projects worldwide, which will add volumes of more than one million oil-equivalent barrels per day. In 2017, ExxonMobil added 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels to its resource base in locations including the Permian, Guyana, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea and Brazil.

ExxonMobil is upgrading its product slate through strategic investments at refineries in Baytown and Beaumont in Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Singapore, and Fawley in the UK. The company expects to grow its chemical manufacturing capacity in North America and Asia Pacific by about 40%, in part by adding 13 new facilities including two world-class steam crackers in the United States.

Woods said the company is focused on four fundamentals: integration, technology, operational excellence and project execution.

“Our investment plans, like every aspect of our business, are built on the fundamentals,” Woods said. “We focus on success factors that are true regardless of market conditions, and we leverage areas where we have unique competitive strengths.”

Woods also stressed the company’s commitment to a solutions-oriented approach to address the dual challenge of producing energy the world needs for economic growth while addressing the risks of climate change.

“Society’s needs evolve and so do we,” Woods said. “We have a long history of consistently rising to and meeting the challenges of a dynamic world.”

Woods provided details of ExxonMobil’s response to a resolution passed during the 2017 shareholders meeting seeking more information on how the company will address the risks of climate change.

Earlier this year, the company released its updated Energy & Carbon Summary report, which examined a range of two degrees Celsius scenarios developed by experts at a Stanford University forum. Oil and natural gas continue to play a significant role in meeting the world’s energy needs in each scenario and remain important sources, even in models with the lowest level of total energy demand. The analysis also confirmed that more advances in technology will be required.

Woods highlighted the company’s strengths in innovation and broad research programme, and outlined progress ExxonMobil continues to make in researching and developing lower-carbon solutions, particularly in carbon capture and storage technology, next-generation biofuels, and more efficient manufacturing processes.

The company is working with Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy, Inc. on a novel approach to capture carbon from natural gas power plants through fuel cell technology, advanced algae biofuels with partner Synthetic Genomics in California, and a more efficient chemical manufacturing technology with the Georgia Institute of Technology that could dramatically minimise process emissions, among numerous other projects and partnerships.

ExxonMobil recently announced initiatives to cut greenhouse gas emissions associated with its operations, specifically a targeted 15% reduction in methane emissions associated with production assets and a 25% reduction in flaring. Since 2000, ExxonMobil has spent more than $9bn to develop and deploy higher-efficiency and lower-emission energy solutions across its operations.

During the annual meeting, shareholders re-elected ExxonMobil’s board of directors, supported the company’s executive compensation programme, ratified PricewaterhouseCoopers as independent auditors and voted against four proposals by shareholders.


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