Oil giant Exxon announces major write-offs and job cuts

03 Décembre, 2020, 10:52 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • ExxonMobil

The oil major is reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on energy demand and prices, and tries to protect a rich shareholder payout that brings in 8.6% and costs almost 15 billion dollars a year.

The writedown lays bare the size of the miscalculation that the company made in 2010 when it paid US$30 billion for USA shale producer XTO Energy as natural gas prices went into a decade-long decline.

The company struggled to adapt as oil and gas prices tumbled this spring when the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Exxon will instead focus on Guyana, where it has discovered up to 8 billion barrels of oil, off Brazil and on the Permian Basin oil field, the company said. Not mentioned was its $30 billion Mozambique liquefied natural gas project, which sources do not expect final investment decision on until early 2022.

Business conditions are continuing to show signs of improvement despite the pandemic, he said. The awards were valued at about US$37.5 million in total a year ago, but Exxon shares have tumbled about 40 per cent since then.

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The impairment charge "further worsens the company's already substantial jump in financial leverage", said Pete Speer, senior analyst at Moody's Investors Service.

ExxonMobil, which has reported losses the last three quarters, said it will account for a $17-20 billion write-down in the fourth quarter based on shifting assets from the United States, Canada and Argentina out of its development plan.

Exxon's board of directors accepted a proposal by management to slash capital expenditures to between $16 billion and $19 billion next year, down from $23 billion in 2020.

"In this environment it makes no sense to me at all". "I don't think it's going to help them with investors".

Exxon said last month it could cut 14,000 employees, or 15 percent of its global workforce, by the end of 2021.

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