Exxon Mobil Corporation
has announced plans to invest at record levels - between $25bn (£17.7bn) and $30bn annually over the next five years - in oil exploration, low-sulphur diesel production and expansion into Asia.
The company stated that this investment is needed to meet increased energy demands throughout the world.
At an annual briefing for investment analysts at the New York Stock Exchange, Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer at ExxonMobil, said: ‘The global economy is currently experiencing a downturn, but at ExxonMobil we are focused on the long term.
‘ExxonMobil’s strong financial position, resulting from the strength of our business portfolio and our prudent approach to risk management and investment, enables us to develop new oil and gas projects, increase our production of higher value refined products and grow our chemical business.'
Tillerson outlined ExxonMobil’s major achievements in 2008, such as the beginning of production at eight major projects in 2008, which at their peak are expected to add the net equivalent of 260,000 barrels per day to Exxon's production.
A further nine major projects are expected to commence production in 2009, and at their peak are expected to add the net equivalent of an additional 485,000 barrels per day to production.
According to Tillerson, ExxonMobil replaced more than 100 per cent of production through proved reserves additions in 2008.
It was the 15th consecutive year that the company's proved reserves additions have more than replaced production. In addition, the company has increased areas of oil exploration by about 40 per cent since 2003.
Even though there is an economic downturn, Tillerson said ExxonMobil is still progressing with plans to invest more than $1bn in lower-sulphur diesel projects at three refineries in the US and Europe. Once complete in 2010, these projects will allow an increase in lower-sulphur diesel production of 140,000 barrels per day.
In the chemical business, Tillerson said the company has ramped up construction on petrochemical projects in China and Singapore. There is also continued investment in a new South Korean plant that will manufacture lithium ion battery separator film.
Tillerson said his company predicts there will be a growing need for such film as the demand increases for hybrid and electrical vehicles, which rely on lithium batteries.
Finally, he stated that ExxonMobil achieved a 34 per cent return on average capital in 2008. This, he added, was much higher than its closest competitor.
Tillerson said: ‘ExxonMobil is strong, resilient, and well-positioned for the future.
‘Our commitment to developing advanced technology, our industry-leading operational and project-management capabilities and exceptional employees continue to position the company as the partner of choice for resource owners around the world.’