Exxon Boosts Share Buybacks as Hunt for More Oil Accelerates

By Bloomberg

Dec 06, 2023

image is BloomburgMedia_S4YMP4T0G1KW01_06-12-2023_12-01-50_638374176000000000.jpg

A Pioneer Natural Resources pumpjack near Midland, Texas, US, on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2203. Exxon Mobil Corp. agreed to buy Pioneer Natural Resources Co. for $59.5 billion, the supermajor's largest takeover in more than two decades, as it seeks to become the dominant producer of shale oil.

Exxon Mobil Corp. plans to raise share buybacks as the oil giant accelerates crude production in the US Permian Basin, boosted by its $60 billion acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources Co. 

Exxon will repurchase $20 billion of stock next year, the Spring, Texas-based company said in a statement Wednesday. The oil titan also plans to spend $23 billion to $25 billion on capital projects next year as it expands its footprint in North America’s most-prolific oilfield and pursues untapped reserves in overseas regions such as Guyana. That compares with a 2023 budget of about $25 billion. 

Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods is investing heavily in both fossil fuels and low-carbon projects that he believes will keep Exxon at the forefront of the energy transition. In the first-ever appearance by an Exxon CEO at the UN’s premier climate conference, Woods last week predicted that fossil fuels will be needed for years to come and said the oil industry will play a key role in the transition to cleaner energy.  

Exxon rose as much as 0.6% in pre-market US trading.

Arch rival Chevron Corp. recently raised annual buybacks to $20 billion but has a more challenged growth outlook than Exxon, something it’s trying to fix by buying Hess Corp. for $53 billion. 

As for Exxon, the Pioneer deal will make it far and away the biggest Permian producer and help restore the oil giant’s overall production to levels not seen in more than a decade. In addition to the Permian Basin, Exxon is ramping up production in Guyana, where it has discovered roughly 11 billion barrels of crude, and building a multibillion-dollar petrochemical plant in China. It’s also planning significant investments in carbon capture and hydrogen. 

(Adds share price move in fourth paragraph.)

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

By Kevin Crowley

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