Exxon plans major US investments due to tax reform: CEO

Exxon Mobil Corp is "actively evaluating" projects now in planning stages as a result of new tax and regulatory changes. PHOTO: REUTERS

HOUSTON (REUTERS)- Exxon Mobil plans to invest billions of dollars in the United States due in part to recently approved corporate tax rate cuts, the company's chief executive said on Monday (Jan 29).

Darren Woods, head of the world's largest publicly traded oil producer, said in a blog post on the company's website that Exxon expects to spend US$50 billion in US projects over the next five years. The company also is "actively evaluating" projects now in planning stages as a result of new tax and regulatory changes, he wrote.

More than US$35 billion of that amount is for projects not previously announced, according to company spokesman Scott Silvestri.

Exxon previously pledged tens of billions of dollars for US refining, petrochemical and shale exploration efforts. Last spring, it laid out a US$20 billion investment in its US Gulf Coast chemical and oil refining operations through 2022.

The company also is increasing investment in its West Texas and New Mexico shale operations, and moving ahead on a US$10 billion petrochemical complex with Saudi Basic Industries in Texas.

US President Donald Trump signed into law a tax reform package last month that cut top corporate income rates to 21 per cent from 35 per cent and allowed for immediate expensing for capital costs of projects.

"The recent changes to the US corporate tax rate coupled with smarter regulation create an environment for future capital investments," Mr Woods said, adding Exxon is reviewing "the impact of the lower tax rate on the economics of several other projects currently in the planning stages."

Mr Woods took over the top job in January 2017 after former chief Rex Tillerson resigned to become US secretary of state.

Exxon is slated to report its quarterly results on Friday.

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