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Former Petronas CEO Wan Zulkiflee joins Exxon Mobil board

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An Exxon refinery in Baton Rouge Louisiana

Exxon is expected to report a fourth consecutive quarterly loss on Tuesday for the first time in modern history after previously announcing it would reduce assets by up to $ 20 billion.

Revenue dropped 31% to $46.5 billion.

In a statement welcoming Wan Zulkiflee, Exxon Mobil chairman and chief executive officer Darren Woods expressed confidence that the Malaysian's extensive corporate experience will have a positive impact on the U.S. company.

Exxon also sees additional annual structural operating expense cuts of $3 billion expected by 2023, resulting in total annual cuts of $6 billion vs. 2019 levels.

The energy giant unveiled new cost-cutting efforts, a new low-carbon business unit and a new board member that it said would position it for the future.

Similarly, British oil giant BP, which has already pivoted capital expenditure towards renewable-energy production, posted an $18 billion loss on the year.

It projects a doubling of Permian Basin output to 700,000 barrels per day by 2025, down from the million-barrel target it previously had expected to hit by 2024 in the top US shale field, Woods said. Shareholder D.E. Shaw & Co.is in talks about adding new directors to Exxon's board, according to people familiar with the matter, and activist investor Engine No. 1 last week revealed its own slate of nomination.

Petroleum demand has been choppy week to week and "things seem to be shifting quarter to quarter on the perceptions and nature of the recovery", said Peter McNally, analyst at Third Bridge Group.

Exxon said it would invest $3 billion through 2025 to commercialize the company's carbon-capture and storage-technology operations, an apparent response to pressure from activist investors to respond to climate change.

After the novel coronavirus outbreak past year, Exxon discussed a merger with its main US rival, Chevron Corp., the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

London-based BP previous year announced it will seek to become a net zero producer of carbon emissions by 2050. Currently, the only large-scale use of the captured carbon is to help produce more fossil fuels by pumping gas to extract more oil and gas from the ground.

"Investors realize that they should be asking for more fundamental change and they've moved to a place where Exxon is just not willing to go", Logan said.

Government support is needed to make carbon capture more commercially viable, Exxon also said in the statement.

The company also named Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, former Petronas president, to the board.

A combined Exxon-Chevron would be eclipsed in size only by Saudi Aramco, which boasts a roughly $1.8 trillion market value and has previously pushed many USA drillers to the financial brink by flooding the market with oil.

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