ExxonMobil to write off as much as $20bn in assets; cuts capex

Author: Nurluqman Suratman


SINGAPORE (ICIS)--US energy major ExxonMobil plans to write down as much as $20bn in assets and cut its 2021 capital expenditures (capex) to $16bn-$19bn as it prioritizes investments in chemical performance products in the near term.

Annual capex thereafter until 2025 will be $20bn-25bn, down from the company’s original budget of $30bn-$35bn, the company announced late on Monday.

ExxonMobil is also eyeing a 15% cut in its global workforce by the end of next year to cut expenses amid the demand slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a low-oil price environment.

The asset write-off would include certain dry gas resources in the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas in the US, and in western Canada and Argentina.

"Continued emphasis on high-grading the asset base - through exploration, divestment and prioritization of advantaged development opportunities - will improve earnings power and cash generation, and rebuild balance sheet capacity to manage future commodity price cycles while working to maintain a reliable dividend," ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Darren Woods said.

ExxonMobil's spending will now focus on "developments in Guyana and the US Permian Basin, targeted exploration in Brazil and Chemicals projects to grow high-value performance products", the company said.

Woods said the business environment in the fourth quarter is showing signs of improvement despite the resurgence in coronavirus cases and accompanying economic restrictions.

“Prices and margins for many of our businesses have improved from the third quarter and when coupled with continuing efforts to reduce spending and capture additional efficiencies, quarter-to-date cash flow has improved versus our plan assumptions,” he said.

Photo: ExxonMobil’s offshore platform in the Bass Strait (Source: ExxonMobil Australia)

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