EXXONMO­BIL’S US$20B SPREE

Trump hails oil gi­ant as ‘spe­cial com­pany’ fol­low­ing pro­gramme to cre­ate 45,000 jobs

New Straits Times - - Business World -

EXXON Mo­bil Corp an­nounced a US$20 bil­lion (RM88.94 bil­lion) build­ing spree in the heart of the United States chem­i­cal and re­fin­ing in­dus­try, a pro­gramme the com­pany says will cre­ate 45,000 jobs.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump quickly tweeted his sup­port, call­ing the oil pro­ducer a “spe­cial com­pany”.

The only prob­lem? Mon­day’s an­nounce­ment just gave a name to a se­ries of in­vest­ments the com­pany be­gan mak­ing as far back as 2013, be­fore the col­lapse in oil prices.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (CEO) Dar­ren Woods dubbed the pro- gramme “Grow­ing the Gulf”, part of an ef­fort to boost en­ergy ex­ports from abun­dant nat­u­ral gas and oil sup­plies on the US Gulf Coast.

It’s the lat­est ef­fort by a cor­po­ra­tion to proac­tively present it­self as a job cre­ator to a pres­i­dent who has made the is­sue a cen­tre­piece of his cam­paign and his less than two-month ten­ure in of­fice. Trump de­scribed ExxonMo­bil as a “true Amer­i­can suc­cess story”.

The pres­i­dent fol­lowed up with a trade­mark tweet: “We are al­ready winning again, Amer­ica!” and a short video cel­e­brat­ing the an­nounce­ment, which he said was in part be­cause of his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s poli­cies.

All the jobs would be lo­cated along the Gulf Coast, and many would pay an av­er­age of US$100,000 a year, said Woods at CERAWeek, a huge an­nual in­dus­try con­fer­ence, here.

The in­vest­ments will con­tinue at least through 2022.

Woods was mak­ing only his sec­ond pub­lic ap­pear­ance as CEO since Jan­uary, when he suc­ceeded Rex Tiller­son, who left the com­pany to be­come Trump’s sec­re­tary of state.

ExxonMo­bil fol­lows other US gi­ants such as Ford Mo­tor Co, In­tel Corp, Gen­eral Mo­tors Co and Wal-Mart Stores Inc re­spond­ing to Trump’s call to es­chew over­seas in­vest­ments and fo­cus on do­mes­tic de­vel­op­ments.

Af­ter decades of lo­cat­ing re­finer­ies and chem­i­cal plants close to raw ma­te­ri­als and end mar­kets in the Mid­dle East and East Asia, ExxonMo­bil was com­mit­ted to steer­ing con­struc­tion dol­lars to its home coun­try, Woods said.

The plan in­volves 11 projects in the Gulf Coast re­gion.

Woods’ com­ments fol­lowed the com­pany’s dis­clo­sure last week that it was shift­ing half its world­wide drilling bud­get to US shale fields next year.

Dar­ren Woods

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