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Exxon Mobil forecasts increases in project spending, oil output

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Exxon Mobil has outlined its plans, targeting an annual project spending range of $22 billion to $27 billion through 2027. The company aims to enhance its focus on emerging lithium and low-carbon businesses, intending to increase spending in these areas by 18% over the same period. CEO Darren Woods emphasized the importance of government support for Exxon’s transition efforts, stating, “We need technology-neutral durable policy support, transparent carbon pricing and accounting, and ultimately, customer commitments to support increased investment.”

The company’s presentation highlighted the exclusion of details regarding projected gains from the impending $60 billion acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources, leading to a more than 1% decline in shares. Exxon executives noted that profits from their energy transition initiatives, such as carbon dioxide abatement, storage, and lithium production, are anticipated to materialize after 2027 and will be contingent on regulatory and infrastructural support.

Exxon’s spending outlook also revealed an increase in outlays for its Low Carbon Solutions unit to $20 billion between 2022 and 2027, up from the initial $17 billion, underscoring the company’s commitment to transitioning to a low-carbon future. Share buybacks are set to rise to $20 billion annually through 2025 after the completion of the Pioneer merger.

Despite the optimistic outlook, analysts expressed concerns, stating that Exxon’s oil and gas targets appeared below expectations, and the spending forecast was higher than anticipated. Additionally, there are expectations of a delayed start-up at Exxon’s Golden Pass LNG plant, now projected for 2025. The company forecasts a production increase to 3.8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2024, with the Permian shale basin and Guyana playing key roles in driving growth. The projected rise in earnings and cash flow through 2027 is anticipated to be supported by cost-cutting measures, increased oil output, and gains in refining and chemicals businesses.

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