Former Exxon Mobil (XOM +0.2%) CEO and secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson may have to testify on the day before Pres.-elect Trump's inauguration in a lawsuit that claims the U.S. government failed to protect future generations from global warming.
The suit was brought by a group of youth plaintiffs, although several fossil fuel industry groups have legally intervened on the defense’s side, including the American Petroleum Institute.
The lead attorney tells Business Insider that the plaintiffs' questions will focus on what XOM scientists knew about climate change and for how long; Tillerson sidestepped similar questions posed during his confirmation hearing, but likely would need to be far more forthcoming when under oath in a federal lawsuit.
Nigeria’s oil union suspends a planned three-day strike that began yesterday after the government brokered a deal between workers and oil companies, including units of Chevron (CVX -0.1%) and Exxon (XOM -0.5%).
The union says talks will continue in two weeks “to assess implementation of resolutions reached.”
The 250K-member union was protesting job cuts, wrongful termination of contracts and redundancies in the oil industry; earlier this month, the union suspended a similarly planned strike at a lubricant facility operated by Total's local unit after reaching an agreement.
Exxon Mobil (XOM -0.6%) reports positive results from its Payara-1 well offshore Guyana, encountering more than 95 ft. of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs.
The discovery is XOM's second off the coast of Guyana, in a another reservoir 10 miles from the Liza field discovered in 2015, which is estimated to contain 100M-150M boe.
In addition to the Payara discovery, XOM says appraisal drilling at the Liza-3 well has identified an additional high quality, deeper reservoir directly below the Liza field, which is being evaluated for development.
XOM is operator of the exploration project and holds a 45% stake, with Hess (HES -6.3%) and Cnooc (CEO -1.2%) holding respective 30% and 25% stakes.
A Massachusetts judge today denied a request by Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) to exempt it from a request by the state's attorney general to hand over decades worth of documents on the company's views on climate change.
State AG Maura Healey, one of two state prosecutors investigating XOM's climate policies, says the ruling "affirms our longstanding authority to investigate fraud," adding that the company "must come clean" about whether it misled its shareholders and the public in what it knew about climate change.
In today's Senate confirmation hearing, former Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) CEO and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson appeared to distance himself slightly from the views of his probable future boss, saying "the risk of climate change does exist, and that the consequences of it could be serious enough that actions should be taken."
Pres.-elect Trump once suggested that climate change was a hoax created by the Chinese to help make U.S. manufacturing less competitive.
Tillerson also appeared to differ from Trump’s promise to tear up the Paris Agreement on reducing global emissions, but noted Trump's "America first" policy and said participation in global climate agreements may be subject to considerations about their impact on U.S. business.
The former CEO declined to address XOM’s past positions on climate change; the company potentially could face legal or investor sanctions given some ongoing state investigations.
Exxon Mobil (XOM +0.7%) is downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo, which cites the stock's premium valuation as well as updated production estimates, margin expectations and commodity price deck.
Wells says it had expected XOM to pursue an acquisition during the oil price downturn as a way to deliver growth and returns, but the window likely has closed for now.
The firm maintains its Outperform ratings on ConocoPhillips (COP +0.9%), Occidental Petroleum (OXY) and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ -0.6%), citing low-cost production (NYSE:COP), favorable position in the Permian Basin (NYSE:OXY) and strong production growth (NYSE:CNQ).
Argentina's government announces a deal with labor unions and energy companies aimed at luring investors to the Vaca Muerta shale, which contains the world's second largest reserves of shale gas but is largely unexplored.
In return for the investment commitments, the government says it will extend a subsidy that enables companies to sell gas at $7.50/MMBtu and eliminate a 15-year-old export duty on oil and oil products; unions promise more flexible working conditions, as high labor costs have been a barrier to Vaca Muerta's development.
Argentina's Pres. Macri proclaims a “new era” for the country’s languishing energy sector, which will see foreign companies including Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), BP, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) and Total (NYSE:TOT) as well as state oil company YPFinvest an initial $5B in 2017, rising to $15B in subsequent years.
Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) conducted business with Iran, Syria and Sudan through a European subsidiary while Rex Tillerson, Pres.-elect Trump's nominee for secretary of state, was a top exec at the company and the countries were under U.S. sanctions as state sponsors of terrorism, USA Today reports.
The sales were conducted in 2003, 2004 and 2005 by Infineum, which was 50%-owned by XOM, the report says, citing SEC documents.
XOM says the activities were legal because Infineum, a joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell, was based in Europe and did not involve any U.S. employees.
The issue likely will surface as Senate confirmation hearings begin Wednesday for former XOM CEO Tillerson.
A Nigerian oil labor union says it would stage a three-day strike at Chevron (CVX -0.9%) and Exxon Mobil (XOM -1.7%) fuel depots starting Wednesday in a protest over sackings, pending the outcome of talks with the government.
Nigerian labor unions have criticized oil companies for dismissing workers in recent months, and the union held a one-day strike last week at Total's (TOT -0.9%) fuel depots before reaching an agreement.
A senior figure in another labor union says his members will await the outcome of government talks before deciding whether or not to strike.
Prime Minister Trudeau and U.S. Pres. Obama announced new restrictions on Arctic oil development last month, with Canada saying existing leases would not be affected without industry feedback, but Trudeau’s government is now specifically ruling out lease extensions sought by industry before the new restrictions were put in place.
The companies hold leases that expire over the next six years, totaling C$1.9B ($1.4B) in bids.
A Dutch court today upheld a government decision to cap production at the Groningen gas field at 24B cm until Oct. 1, 2021, a step aimed at easing the risk of earthquakes triggered by drawing gas from the field.
The court was responding to requests for a preliminary injunction against the June decision, opposed by groups who sought a halt or a deeper cut to production at Groningen.
Output has been cut several times from 53.9B cm in 2013 amid criticism that Dutch authorities had failed to adequately assess the risk to citizens from earthquakes caused by gas production.
Groningen is operated by a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM).
XOM has said Tillerson would receive a ~$180M payout in lieu of restricted stock awards that have yet to vest; in the ethics filing, Tillerson says the money would be placed in an irrevocable trust that would be managed by an independent trustee.
Tillerson would recuse himself for a year from government decisions involving XOM, possibly including decisions over whether to ease sanctions placed on Russia; under Tillerson’s leadership, Russia became XOM’s single biggest exploration theater as the company amassed drilling rights across tens of millions of acres.
Tillerson continues to own shares in Shell, Chevron, Total, Sinopec, Phillips 66, Schlumberger and GE; outside of energy, he holds stakes in Apple, Caterpillar and Deere.
Tillerson’s Senate confirmation hearing may begin as soon as next week, and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is calling Tillerson and several other Trump nominees “troublesome.”
Top 10 Holdings as of 11/30/2016: Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM): 5.21072%, AT&T Inc (T): 5.16758%, Chevron Corp (CVX): 4.08907%, Verizon Communications Inc (VZ): 4.0269%, General Electric Co (GE): 3.47175%, Procter & Gamble Co (PG): 3.00826%, Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT): 2.9326%, Pfizer Inc (PFE): 2.72637%, Philip Morris International Inc (PM): 2.54288%, International Business Machines Corp (IBM): 2.39209%