Exxon News – 2009

News summaries from EXXONMOBIL company press releases and from unaffiliated news agencies are provided below. The summaries are sorted by month and are further categorized as upstream news, downstream news, and business/finance news.

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January

• Upstream news:

• Downstream news:

- As a reflection of the value of the relationship with the nation's number one motorsport, ExxonMobil announced the renewal of a long-standing official partnership with NASCAR for its Mobil 1 motor oil and Mobil brand of lubricant products. The 2009 NASCAR season will mark the seventh consecutive season in which Mobil 1 is the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR” and the Mobil brand of lubricant products are the “Official Lubricants of NASCAR.” The new agreement extends that official partnership through the 2012 season.

- An ExxonMobil Chemical Exxtral™ performance polyolefin has been specified for the front and rear bumper fasciae of the new globally available VW Golf VI. Exxtral BMU130 polyolefin was developed specifically to meet the performance targets set by Volkswagen (VW). VW is the first German original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to select strong, light-weight Exxtral polyolefins for fasciae.

• Business/Finance news:

- National and international energy and environmental security can be achieved through policies that support innovation, competition and free trade, Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), said. In a speech to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Tillerson outlined the energy challenge facing America and the world: global energy demand is expected to be 35 percent higher in 2030 than it was in 2005 despite the current economic slowdown, efficiency improvements and growth in alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Providing energy to meet that demand, which is driven by economic expansion largely in developing countries, while protecting the environment will require development of all viable sources of energy and multiple technology breakthroughs, he said.

- ExxonMobil will demonstrate its expertise and commitment to energy efficiency, both in its operations and in consumers' use of its products, at its exhibit at the 2009 World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi from January 19-21, 2009. The exhibit showcases ExxonMobil’s proactive approach to reducing its own energy use as well as assisting consumers of hydrocarbon-based fuels in reducing their energy use. On display will be a prototype automobile featuring parts made from ExxonMobil lightweight plastics and rubber. Lighter vehicles use less fuel; for every 10-percent drop in vehicle weight, fuel economy improves by seven percent. The exhibit will also contain information from ExxonMobil’s Outlook for Energy that examines the importance of accelerating gains in energy efficiency, expanding all commercially viable energy sources, and developing and deploying technology to help mitigate the growth of emissions associated with energy use.

- Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation, presented Vogel Alcove with a $50,000 grant in support of their work with homeless infants, toddlers and preschool children. Vogel Alcove is the third nonprofit organization to receive Tillerson’s annual Chairman’s Gift. Tillerson established the Chairman’s Gift in 2006 in order to provide a local nonprofit organization with a donation during the holiday season. Since the gift’s inception, ExxonMobil has selected St. Philip’s School and Community Center, Lena Pope Home and Vogel Alcove as recipients.

- ExxonMobil will release its fourth quarter 2008 earnings on Friday, January 30, 2009. The news release will be issued over Business Wire.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) welcomed the announcement by Medicines Malaria Venture (MMV) and Novartis of the development of the world’s first malaria drug for children, Coartem Dispersible. ExxonMobil has provided $3 million in funding to MMV, including $1.5 million in specific funding for the development of the drug.

- The Board of Directors of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) declared a cash dividend of 40 cents per share on the Common Stock, payable on March 10, 2009, to shareholders of record of Common Stock at the close of business on February 10, 2009. This first quarter dividend is at the same level as the dividend paid in the fourth quarter of 2008.

- Mr. R. D. (Dan) Nelson, vice president of Exxon Mobil Corporation’s (NYSE:XOM) Washington, D.C., office, has announced his intention to retire, effective April 1, 2009, after more than 32 years of service. Mr. Nelson has been vice president of ExxonMobil’s Washington office and a vice president and officer of the corporation since 2004, and had previously held a variety of other senior positions with the company in the United States, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation announced that together with 650 Dallas-area employees and retirees, more than $1.5 million in contributions has been pledged to the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas as a part of the 2008 campaign. For several years, ExxonMobil has been the largest per capita donor to the Dallas campaign, donating more than $8.7 million since 2002. In addition to providing financial support, more than 200 ExxonMobil employees gave a gift of their time by volunteering at 12 North Texas non-profit agencies during the United Way’s Day of Caring.

- ExxonMobil’s full year 2008 earnings excluding special items were a record $44,060 million, up 8% from 2007. Earnings per share excluding special items were up 16% reflecting the benefit of the share purchase program. Net income of $45,220 million in 2008 was also a record, up 11% from 2007. Net income included an after-tax special gain of $1,620 million from the sale of a natural gas transportation business in Germany and after-tax special charges of $460 million related to the Valdez litigation. ExxonMobil’s financial strength continued to support its disciplined capital investment approach in the midst of a growing global economic slowdown. Capital and exploration project spending increased to $26.1 billion in 2008, up 25% from 2007. Through these investments we continued to demonstrate our long-term focus throughout the business cycle. The Corporation distributed a total of $40.1 billion to shareholders in 2008, up 12% or $4.4 billion from 2007. This reflects a 13% increase in per share dividends versus 2007 and an overall reduction in shares outstanding of 7.5%. ExxonMobil’s fourth quarter earnings excluding special items were $7,820 million, a decrease of 33% from the fourth quarter of 2007. Weaker crude oil prices, higher operating expenses, lower chemical volumes and the impact of the Gulf Coast hurricanes were partly offset by higher downstream margins.

- Despite collapsing oil prices in recent months, Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, still managed to set a record for last year as the most profitable American corporation ever. Exxon earned $45.2 billion in 2008, beating the record it set in 2007 for most profitable corporation, at $40.6 billion. That came despite a fourth quarter in which income fell 33 percent, owing to the steepest drop ever in oil prices, as the economy went into a tailspin. After riding a tide of swelling earnings in recent years, the once high-flying oil sector is scrambling to adjust to a sharp downturn. Oil consumption is falling in all major developed nations as economies shrink and consumers cut back on spending. As a result, oil prices have dropped more than 70 percent since peaking above $145 a barrel in July. On Friday, they traded at about $42 a barrel. Because of its close attention to cost reduction and efficiency, Exxon is weathering the drop in oil prices better than most rivals. As most companies trim spending and scale back some operations, Exxon signaled it would stick with its strategy. More than any other oil company, managers at Exxon emphasize a strict attention to containing costs, and are disciplined about their investments. As a result, the company manages to extract more dollars than its rivals out of each barrel that it pumps or refines. The method has served the company well when times were good, and is likely to provide some shelter in a long downturn, analysts said. The company has more than $30 billion in cash that could provide it with a strategic war chest to make acquisitions, according to analysts. Many have forecast a wave of buyouts in the sector as companies struggle to finance their projects or even to survive. At a conference last month, Exxon’s chairman and chief executive, Rex W. Tillerson, also signaled the company would increase its capital spending program by 20 percent this year. Exxon spent $26 billion in 2008 to increase production and develop new projects, 25 percent more than in 2007. It has outlined plans to spend an average of $25 billion a year through 2012. Earlier this week both Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips reported large quarterly losses as asset values dropped because of the fall in oil prices. Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, said Friday that its net income rose 1 percent, to $4.9 billion, in the fourth quarter. For the year, Chevron’s earnings rose 28 percent, to $24 billion. Shares of Exxon closed at $76.48, down 52 cents, on Friday, and Chevron fell 10 cents, to $70.52 a share. Exxon said that it gave back $40.1 billion to its shareholders in 2008, 12 percent more than in 2007, through either dividends or share buybacks. On Friday, the company signaled that its share buyback program, which totaled $8 billion in the fourth quarter, would be trimmed slightly to $7 billion in the first quarter of 2009. Exxon pumped about 2.47 million barrels of oil a day in the fourth quarter and produced 9.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. Over all, oil and gas production decreased 3 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with the year-earlier period. (In some countries, Exxon is entitled to fewer barrels of oil when prices rise.) The company started eight major projects last year, including Thunder Horse, a huge offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico. In recent months, projects have been canceled or deferred in Australia, Canada and Saudi Arabia. In the United States, several oil and refinery companies in recent days have told investors that they intended to respond to the falling oil and natural gas prices by laying off workers, writing down asset values and reducing capital spending. With gasoline demand down, refineries have been particularly squeezed. As a sign that the days of extraordinary profit growth are over, Baker Hughes, a Houston oil service company, announced that it would cut 1,500 of its 40,000 employees. Schlumberger, another service company, reported a nearly 17 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings. The company said it would reduce its 19,000 North American employees by almost 5 percent. Refining margins have been so weak that Valero announced this week it would close its Texas City refinery while it underwent maintenance for the next six weeks. As it has been many times in the past, Exxon was the exception to the sudden turn of fortune in the oil patch.

- Despite an unprecedented collapse in world energy markets, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. performed better than expected in the fourth quarter and rode the wave of record-high oil prices long enough to post their biggest annual profits ever, the companies said. But it was the oil-price plunge, which accelerated in the fourth quarter, that set the stage for the rest of 2009, and perhaps beyond, energy experts said. The oil industry could be rocked by consolidations and outright failures as debt-laden companies find credit too expensive to obtain. The industry could face a prolonged period of relatively cheap oil in which demand continues to trail supply, in part because of the continuing global recession. Fadel Gheit, senior energy analyst for Oppenheimer & Co., said that Chevron fared even better, and that the San Ramon, Calif., company would be well positioned to build strength once the global economy recovers. Exxon's fourth-quarter net income fell 33% to $7.8 billion, or $1.55 a share, from $11.7 billion, or $2.13, in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue for the Irving, Texas, company fell 27% to $84.7 billion. Chevron earned $4.9 billion, or $2.44 a share, in the quarter, up from $4.88 billion, or $2.32, a year earlier. But revenue fell 26% to $45.2 billion. Both companies exceeded analysts' expectations with a boost from refining profits that helped soften the drop in oil prices. Consumer activists accused the oil giants of making the recession worse. For the full year, Exxon netted $45.2 billion, ranking it higher in terms of gross domestic product than all but about 75 of the world's nations. It also broke the $40.6-billion standard that it set for U.S. company earnings in 2007. Chevron's $23.9-billion profit for 2008 was also a company record. And at a time when some energy firms are cutting 2009 capital spending by as much as 50%, Chevron says it will maintain its spending at 2008 levels. Exxon Chairman Rex W. Tillerson has said that his company may increase capital spending in 2009 by more than 20% over 2008 levels. This comes despite a slump in oil prices that some experts see lasting awhile. But others see new pressures that could drive oil sharply higher in a hurry. For example, a recent agreement by the 168-member International Maritime Organization to limit pollution from the world's oceangoing vessels would end the use of bunker fuel, a sludgy substance that is the dirtiest of transportation fuels, in favor of cleaner-burning diesel alternatives. Although no clear timetable for the switch has been set, oil companies may be unable to meet demand because they have slashed spending. Exxon shares fell 52 cents to close at $76.48. Chevron slipped 10 cents to $70.52

February

• Upstream news:

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) announced that additions to its proved reserves in 2008 totaled 1.5 billion oil-equivalent barrels, replacing 103 percent of production. Excluding the impact of asset sales, reserves additions replaced 110 percent of production. These additions assume the long-term pricing basis that the corporation uses to make its investment decisions, rather than single-day, year-end pricing. The annual reporting of proved reserves is the product of the corporation’s long-standing, rigorous process that ensures consistency and management accountability in all reserve bookings. The corporation’s reserve additions in 2008 reflect both new developments with significant funding commitments and revisions and extensions of existing fields resulting from drilling, studies and analysis of reservoir performance. Reserves additions from the Kearl Phase 1 oil sands project in Canada totaled 1.1 billion oil-equivalent barrels. Proved additions were also made in a diverse range of countries including the United States, Norway, Nigeria, Angola and Australia. Asset sales in 2008 reduced proved reserves by 0.1 billion oil-equivalent barrels. Utilizing December 31 liquids and natural gas prices, proved reserves replacement was 2.0 billion oil-equivalent barrels in 2008, replacing 136 percent of production, including the effect of asset sales. However, prices from a single date are not considered when long-term investment decisions are made by the corporation, and annual variations in reserves based on such year-end prices are not aligned with how the business is actually managed.

• Downstream news:

- ExxonMobil Chemical will present its broad portfolio at PlastIndia 2009 Hall 7H, specifically highlighting its specialty elastomers, polyethylene and polypropylene-based products. Vistamaxx™ specialty elastomers, Santoprene™ thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs), Enable mPE™ and Exxtral™ Performance Polyolefins will be among the brands on display.

- ExxonMobil announced that the company’s flagship brand of synthetic motor oil, Mobil 1, has been selected as the factory fill and service fill endorsed motor oil for the new Chevy Cobalt SS Coupe and Chevy HHR-SS. Both vehicles are equipped with a turbocharged, direct-injected, dual overhead cam, ECOTEC 260-hp 2.0L I-4 engine with Variable Valve Timing. Capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 miles-per-hour in 5.7 seconds, the engine is the fastest in its class and gets an estimated MPG of 22 city and 30 highway.

• Business/Finance news:

- More than 3,000 middle school girls will be greeted as “New Hires” as they visit local ExxonMobil facilities and get a first-hand experience as an engineer. The event, taking place nationwide at ExxonMobil locations, is part of the company’s participation in Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day and National Engineers Week. For the second year, the company also will host the ExxonMobil Girls in Engineering Festival in Houston where middle school girls from three Houston-area school districts will participate in a day-long event on Feb. 14. Both activities are rewarding to middle school girls as ExxonMobil employees seek to persuade them that engineering is “cool” and opens doors of opportunity to them if they choose it as a career.

- ExxonMobil announced the 75 nonprofit agencies selected to participate in the 2009 Community Summer Jobs Program (CSJP) in Dallas. In its 19th year locally and 38th year nationally, the program offers undergraduate students a paid summer internship and real-world work experience in the nonprofit and community service sectors. The Volunteer Center of North Texas administers the program, training agencies on the recruiting, interviewing and selection process, and assisting in organizing and managing the summer internships. Each participating agency will select its own full-time undergraduate intern.

- ExxonMobil engineers are visiting seven Fairfax County Public Middle Schools to attract bright young women and men to the exciting world of engineering and the opportunities that are opening up everyday in science and technology. As a participant in National Engineers Week, ExxonMobil hopes to raise greater awareness of engineering career opportunities available for everyone, especially young women. Designated “Introduction to Engineering Day,” these events highlight career paths in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with the goal of attracting young women and men to the engineering profession, while raising awareness of the impact such careers have on everyday life.

- Breakthrough academic research which can be developed and applied by the private sector on a global scale is a key element in meeting the challenge of delivering more energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), said. Tillerson outlined the essential role for technology in finding solutions to manage the risks posed by climate change during a speech at Stanford University, home of the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP), of which ExxonMobil is a founding supporter. Tillerson said technology is the common denominator underpinning the integrated approach and is key to unlocking a more prosperous and more secure energy and environmental future. Tillerson said that ExxonMobil was also conducting its own in-house research and development aimed at increasing energy supplies while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Some examples in the transportation sector include projects to advance technologies for lithium-ion batteries for use in hybrid and electric vehicles, the development of an on-vehicle hydrogen generation system and research into advanced biofuels. The company also supports a range of carbon capture and storage research initiatives through GCEP and other academic institutions, and is also undertaking in-house, proprietary R&D. As one example, the company has committed more than $100 million to complete development and testing of an improved natural gas treating technology known as Controlled Freeze Zone (CFZ), which could make carbon capture and storage more affordable and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ExxonMobil is building a commercial CFZ demonstration plant near LaBarge, Wyoming, which is expected to be operational in late 2009.

March

• Upstream news:

- ExxonMobil Production Company’s U.S. operations have earned the Gas Processors Association (GPA) 2009 Company Safety Award and the President’s Award for Safety Improvement. Some 500 employees at the company’s gas processing facilities received the honors for outstanding safety performance during more than a million work hours. Gas Processors Association President Bob Dunn presented the awards at the 88th annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Texas. The President’s Safety Award recognizes continuous improvement in safety performance measured by a reduction of 25 percent or more in recordable incident rates over the past three years. This marks the third time in four years that ExxonMobil’s U.S. Production organization has earned the Company Safety Award from GPA.

• Downstream news:

- While synthetic motor oils have an impact on the performance of everything from race cars to minivans, many drivers may not be aware of the critical role such oils play in their engines. A new documentary featuring Mobil 1, the world’s leading synthetic motor oil, intends to change all that. Titled “Speed Dreams,” the 24-minute program will premiere March 16 at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT on The Documentary Channel. In addition to visiting revered locations such as the Corvette Hall of Fame and delving into the history of synthetic motor oils, the program highlights several successful drivers as they discuss the factors that have helped propel them to the top of their circuits.

- ExxonMobil Chemical Company announced that it has made the final decision to build a technology center in Shanghai, China to provide product applications support for its growing business in the Chinese and Asian markets. “Over the next 10 years, we expect roughly 60 percent of the world’s petrochemical growth to occur in Asia, and we are rapidly expanding our manufacturing footprint through major capacity additions in Fujian, China and Singapore," said Steve Pryor, president, ExxonMobil Chemical Company. ExxonMobil Chemical is an industry leader in the development and application of premium products that add value through enhanced product performance, energy efficiency, pollution prevention and greenhouse gas emission reduction. The new technology center will be built and operated by ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Research & Development Company Limited, and will be located in the Shanghai Zizhu Science-based Industrial Park. Laboratories and product demonstration facilities at the center will provide applications technical service and a range of applications development capabilities. The selection of Shanghai as the site for its new technology center reflects the importance of China in the business development and growth plans for ExxonMobil Chemical Company.

- Providing fans around the world with behind-the-scenes access to many of today’s popular, international professional racing circuits and successful race teams, ExxonMobil announced the launch of a new, weekly 30-minute television series devoted to motorsports, “Mobil 1 The Grid.” The show will debut on SPEED at 1:00 a.m. ET on Friday, March 27. Developed in partnership with Sunset & Vine, a leading global sports television distribution and production company, “Mobil 1 The Grid” will offer exclusive, in-depth features, personality profiles and the latest news from leading motorsports circuits around the globe, including American LeMans Series (ALMS), Mobil 1 Porsche SuperCup, Indy Racing League (IRL), NASCAR and Formula One (F1).

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) announced the first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) cargo arrived at the South Hook LNG receiving terminal in Milford Haven, Wales. The terminal adds to the UK’s LNG import capacity and energy diversity with the ability to deliver up to 2 billion cubic feet of gas daily into the natural gas grid when it reaches full operational capacity in 2009. South Hook LNG Terminal Company Ltd. is owned by Qatar Petroleum (67.5 percent), ExxonMobil (24.15 percent) and Total (8.35 percent). The terminal forms part of the wider Qatargas II joint venture which will supply gas to the UK from Qatar’s North Field. The terminal, which is being completed in two phases, includes five LNG storage tanks, a regasification plant, ship unloading systems and a jetty to allow berthing of the world’s largest LNG vessels.

- ExxonMobil inaugurated its newest high efficiency cogeneration plant at its Antwerp refinery in Belgium. Cogeneration is the simultaneous production of electricity and useful heat or steam used for industrial processes. In addition to generating 125 megawatts, the new plant will reduce Belgium's carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 200,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of removing about 90,000 cars from Europe’s roads. With the inauguration of the Antwerp facility, ExxonMobil now has interests in about 4,600 megawatts of cogeneration capacity in about 100 individual installations at more than 30 sites around the world. This is enough capacity to supply the needs of more than 5 million homes in Europe.

- ExxonMobil Chemical’s Exxtral™ performance polyolefins have been specified for the front and rear bumpers of the new Renault Laguna Coupe. Exxtral BMU131 performance polyolefin is being used for the front bumper, front grille and headlight trim, and Exxtral BMU133 polyolefin for the rear bumper. Exxtral BMU131 polyolefin is a UV-stable grade exhibiting excellent aesthetics because of its broad processing window that helps to eliminate large-part injection molding challenges such as “tiger stripes.” Requiring no mixing or blending at the molding presses, these ready-to-inject, fast-cycling grades can improve productivity and deliver cost-savings. Both grades are characterized by a unique impact strength that provides the essential balance between stiffness and toughness required for bumper applications. They offer a low coefficient of linear thermal expansion (CLTE) for excellent dimensional stability.

• Business/Finance news:

- ExxonMobil, in conjunction with Dr. Bernard Harris and the Harris Foundation, announced the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp program will expand to 30 residential camps and include participation by 11 new universities. The two-week camps are designed for under-privileged middle school students across the country and provide a fun-filled setting for them to gain a deeper understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to promote exciting careers in science. Dr. Harris, a former NASA astronaut and the first African American to walk in space, created the camps four years ago with support from ExxonMobil. More than 1,500 students will take part in this year’s camps and explore themes such as “Mission to Mars,” “Revolutionary Robotics,” and “Energy and Motion.” The camps are free and all student expenses are paid for by the program.

- Today's bear-market milestone: With Wells Fargo & Co.'s long-expected decision to slash its dividend, the wipeout of dividend income by companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index this year already has surpassed what was eliminated in all of 2008. Forty-one companies in the S&P 500 have cut their dividend payouts this year, with the total reduction equivalent to $40.8 billion a year in cash lost to shareholders, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior analyst at S&P in New York. In all of 2008, there were 61 cuts by S&P 500 companies totaling $40.6 billion in lost dividend income. Dividend cuts make investors that much poorer, compounding the decline in their stocks’ value and adding to the "reverse wealth effect" in the economy: The poorer you feel, the less you’re likely to spend. Unfortunately for weary shareholders, more cuts are coming, Silverblatt said. In the banking sector, Wells was the last of the Mohicans: With its cut, not a single financial company remains in the S&P 500 list of the top 25 dividend payers, in terms of total dollars paid out annually. The largest single dividend payer is AT&T. Its $1.64-a-share annual dividend (a current yield of 7.4%) is worth a total of $9.6 billion a year to shareholders. No. 2 on the list: Exxon Mobil Corp., which pays out $8.1 billion a year. The company’s annual dividend rate is $1.60 a share, for a 2.6% current yield. No. 3 is Chevron Corp., with an annual dividend per share of $2.60 and a total annual payout of $5.3 billion. The stock’s dividend yield is 4.5% at the current price. As I wrote in my weekly column in The Times last week, companies that preserve their dividend payments, and commit to continue raising them, could become the market standouts of the next few years if battered investors put more emphasis on income and less on capital gains.

- Nearly 20 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, a new report from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council says oil along the beaches of Prince William Sound is in some places "nearly as toxic as it was the first few weeks after the spill." Wildlife such as orcas, harlequin ducks, herring and salmon are believed to still be suffering the effects of the spill. "At this rate, the remaining oil will take decades and possibly centuries to disappear entirely," the report says.

- ExxonMobil and Volunteer Houston announced that applications were now being accepted for ExxonMobil’s 2009 Community Summer Jobs Program, which offers 65 summer internships at local nonprofit agencies in the Houston area. Now in its 12th year, the Houston-area ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program enables selected agencies to hire a college student for an eight-week internship to assist with the heavy workload and low staffing often associated with the busy summer months. In addition to regular job responsibilities, interns will attend development seminars designed to broaden their exposure to the nonprofit sector, volunteerism and community needs. Each intern will be paid a $2,750 stipend which is an increase over last year’s payment.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and the National Community Action Foundation announced a new partnership to enhance training programs for the tens of thousands of new workers required to meet the needs of rapidly growing weatherization programs around the country. ExxonMobil will donate $5 million to the Foundation to support projects that will expand the scale and scope of existing training programs so workers are well-prepared for sustainable careers in the growing fields of energy efficiency and weatherization. ExxonMobil’s grant is the largest ever private contribution to community organizations that work with the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program. The Foundation will establish a competitive grant program to finance innovative projects that will significantly expand the capacity of weatherization training programs funded through the Weatherization Assistance Program. The recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act increases funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program. This program, implemented by 900 local community agencies represented by the Foundation, enables low-income Americans to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.

- The “stunning” legacy of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska is the persistence of oil along the beaches of Prince William Sound that in places is “nearly as toxic as it was the first few weeks after the spill,” says a new report from the group charged with monitoring the cleanup. Prepared for the 20th anniversary of the tanker accident that spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil into one of the West’s most majestic waterways, the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council said surveys even 14 years after the spill found an estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil lingering below the surface of beaches — some of it more than 450 miles away from the spill, on the Kenai Peninsula and the Katmai coast. "At this rate, the remaining oil will take decades and possibly centuries to disappear entirely,” the report said. Schools of herring crashed in 1993 and have not recovered. Salmon are up and down, but at generally lower levels than before the spill. Harlequin ducks on Northern Knight Island, which feed on oiled shellfish, as recently as 2007 showed elevated levels of P450, an enzyme that can reflect relatively recent exposure to oil. And mysteriously, the resident killer whale pod in Prince William Sound has shown signs of “unusual social breakdown.” First, several females disappeared, leading to a loss of about half the pod’s newborn calves, and finally the highly unusual defection of one matrilineal group to a different pod, never before seen among orcas in the North Pacific. The region’s transient killer whales, meanwhile, “show no signs of recovery and continue to decline,” the report said.

- After gasoline prices rose above $4 a gallon last summer, Republican cries of “drill, baby, drill” forced candidate Barack Obama into a rare retreat. Under pressure, he said he would support some expansion of offshore oil drilling, while still emphasizing conservation and renewable energy. Now, as the Obama administration outlines its energy plans, it is caught between oil companies, who are reminding the president of his campaign pledge, and environmental groups, who are demanding a reinstatement of the drilling ban that Congress lifted in September. The renewed fight over offshore drilling comes amid efforts by the White House to map out an ambitious new energy policy for the country. For the first time since the Carter administration, an American president is putting energy at the center of his domestic agenda. Mr. Obama must decide what strategies are most likely to achieve his goals of diversifying the nation’s fuel supplies, developing alternative energy sources, reducing oil consumption, and curbing carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Part of that equation is what role the administration sees for domestic supplies. Since taking office, it has scrapped rules issued in the final days of the Bush administration that would have opened up vast new areas for offshore drilling well into the next decade. At the same time, the administration is allowing the Interior Department to go ahead with a long-planned auction of leases in the Gulf of Mexico that includes 4.2 million acres that had been off limits since 1988. For the moment, the offshore debate has been eclipsed by the economic crisis and the sharp fall of oil prices. Gasoline now sells for less than $2 a gallon on average, and oil has fallen about 70 percent from its summer peak. But the magnitude of the nation’s energy challenge is not growing smaller. While the United States is the world’s top oil consumer, its output has been falling since 1971. Oil imports now make up more than 60 percent of the nation’s daily consumption of 19 million barrels. Yet for more than 30 years, drilling off most of the American coastline has been forestalled by opposition from coastal states and environmental groups. The skeptics insist that the nation cannot drill its way out of oil dependency and that expanded drilling poses an environmental threat to coastlines. About 85 percent of the nation’s coasts are now off limits, including most of the Pacific and Atlantic seaboards and the western coast of Florida. Yet considerable untapped oil may lie offshore. Around the world, deepwater exploration has been the most dynamic source of petroleum growth in the last decade, in places like West Africa and Brazil. American waters in parts of the Gulf of Mexico where drilling is allowed have been the biggest source of growth in domestic oil production since the 1990s, because of deepwater discoveries and technological advances that have allowed drilling in ever-deeper waters. As a result, estimated reserves in the Gulf of Mexico have grown sevenfold in the last 30 years. The Interior Department estimates that undiscovered oil reserves total 86 billion barrels, four times the nation’s official proven reserves. The bulk of that potential oil, nearly 68 billion barrels, is in areas that are already accessible to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. Based on decades-old surveys, the Interior Department estimates that an additional 18 billion barrels may be found in the coastal zones that were off limits until recently. But the oil industry thinks that could be a serious underestimate given the lack of exploration. Since Mr. Obama’s inauguration, petroleum executives have used every opportunity to press their case for more domestic production. With fewer places to drill around the world, the biggest oil companies, including Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Shell, argue that more domestic oil production is not incompatible with the administration’s goals of lowering imports and using energy more efficiently. In hearings before Congress, at analyst meetings and petroleum conferences, and in television advertising, oil companies and their main trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, have highlighted the sector’s contribution to jobs and revenue for the government, and argued that oil and gas would be needed for decades, even with the development of alternative fuels. They also say that energy prices could rise sharply once the economy comes back to life, and that without more supplies, the world risks another energy shock. “The need to make more oil and natural gas available for Americans is clear,” Tim Cejka, Exxon’s president of exploration, recently told the House Committee on Natural Resources. “The United States’ continued economic growth and prosperity depend on access to reliable and affordable supplies of energy.” On the other end of the spectrum, environmental groups are pressing Congress to reinstate a moratorium on offshore drilling, which alarmed Democrats allowed to lapse when prices surged last year. For some of these groups, the oil industry’s position is wrongheaded at a time when the nation is embarking on a drive to reduce emissions from fossil fuels. “We now have an opportunity to take a much more balanced approach to our energy system,” said Wesley Warren, the director of programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “But the oil industry is not saying anything new here, which is very disappointing.” The battle over offshore drilling is being renewed as relations between the new administration and the oil industry, which enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Bush administration, have soured. The president’s budget would increase taxes on oil companies and would raise the cost of fossil fuels in order to pay for alternative energy sources. The industry has also objected to being stripped of tax credits, which it claims will harm production in the long run. Charles T. Drevna, the president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, said the new administration “looks at the oil and refining industry as a piggy bank to fund other energy programs.” Since taking office, the administration has rolled back many of President Bush’s energy policies, including “midnight rulings” that opened up oil and shale developments in Utah and Colorado, and greatly expanded leasing in the outer continental shelf, as offshore waters are known. The administration has made clear that it does not want to be rushed about offshore drilling. The Interior Department plans to hold a series of public meetings in April before drawing up a five-year plan for exploration within the next six months. In the meantime, it is seeking to increase renewable power sources. On Tuesday, the Interior Department resolved a two-year standoff with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on which department has authority to issue offshore wind permits. The disagreement had forestalled the development of alternative energy offshore. “The outer continental shelf will have its niche place in our energy policy,” Ken Salazar, the secretary of the interior, said in an interview. But he added that offshore oil supplies “should be looked at in the context of a comprehensive energy policy.”

- Which stocks have fallen the farthest from the top of the market value race? Dow Jones put out lists of the 10 largest stocks in the DJ Wilshire 5000, at two market peaks and last Friday. The peaks were on March 24, 2000, and Oct. 9, 2007. The biggest fall, you will not be surprised to learn, was Citigroup, which was No. 10 in 2000 and No. 5 in 2007. Now it is No. 245. Bank of America went from No. 6 in 2007 to No. 68. General Electric, which was No. 2 in 2007, has fallen to No. 20. It is a measure of how huge G.E. is that a drop of 83 percent in market value still leaves it worth more than all but 19 other American companies. For that matter, consider that Citi’s 98 percent loss of value left it among the 250 most valuable companies. As for the tech stars of 2000, Microsoft, No. 1 then, is No. 3 now. Cisco, then No. 2, is No. 14. Intel went from fourth to No. 21 and Oracle fell from 7 to 17. Lucent, No. 9 in 2000, merged with Alcatel, a French company. If it were on the list today, it would be far down. Its market cap is less than half that of Citi. Here are the current top 10, with their performance from Oct. 7, 2007, to Friday. The DJ-Wilshire 5000 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 were both down 56 percent over that stretch. 1. Exxon Mobil, down 31 percent 2. Wal-Mart, up 8 percent 3. Microsoft, down 49 percent 4. Procter & Gamble, down 36 percent 5. AT&T, down 46 percent 6. Johnson & Johnson, down 28 percent 7. Chevron, down 37 percent 8. I.B.M., down 27 percent 9. Berkshire Hathaway, down 40 percent 10. Google, down 50 percent. Wal-Mart is one of seven stocks now in the S.&P. 500 with prices higher than they were at the peak in 2007, according to Bloomberg. The others are Southwestern Energy, Autozone, Rohm & Haas, Family Dollar and Gilead Sciences.

- To attract badly needed investments to increase its oil production, the Iraqi government is considering new incentives for foreign companies, including plans to offer majority stakes in joint ventures to develop the country’s huge oil and gas fields, senior Iraqi officials said. Foreign companies could own as much as 75 percent of the new ventures, the officials said. In its negotiations with dozens of international companies, including Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, Iraq had until now offered stakes of no more than 49 percent in new joint ventures to develop existing and new oil fields. Under a formal process created last year, companies have been asked to bid openly for the right to take part in expanding Iraq’s oil production. But many companies have been skeptical of the country’s terms, saying they lacked enough incentives. At the same time, Iraq’s improved security has meant that foreign companies are eager to invest in the country after decades of wars and sanctions kept them out. Iraq’s oil minister, Hussain al-Shahristani, addressing a conference hosted by OPEC in Vienna, also suggested for the first time that Iraq would consider allowing foreign companies to share directly in the profits from oil production, rather than the fixed fees in the joint ventures that are now offered. This arrangement, known as a production-sharing agreement, would apply to new and riskier exploration; it, too, would offer additional incentives to foreign investors and allow them to recoup their investments faster.

- Thamir Ghadhban, chief of advisers to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq, and a former oil minister, confirmed Mr. Shahristani’s remarks. There has been stiff opposition in Parliament from many political parties to any foreign investment, much less the idea of letting foreign companies own majority stakes in joint ventures. Even a proposed contract with Shell for producing natural gas in southern Iraq, which would give Shell a 49 percent share, was condemned in Parliament. Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, who led an Iraqi government review on reforming the oil sector, said that giving foreign companies more incentives was long overdue. “It’s acknowledged almost universally that the present oil policy and management has been a disaster,” Mr. Salih said. In addition to the formal bidding process established last year, Iraq has been negotiating directly with a handful of international companies to increase production from existing oil fields, Mr. Ghadhban said. The first such field is likely to be Nasiriya, which Iraq had planned to develop itself. The government is in discussions with Eni of Italy, Repsol of Spain and Nippon Oil of Japan, Iraqi officials have said. The review of oil policy, completed March 1, called for rethinking the ban on production-sharing agreements. “The status quo is unacceptable,” Mr. Salih said. Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum, Mr. Maliki’s oil adviser, said there was now broad agreement that Iraq needed new approaches to attract more interest from foreign oil corporations. “But what those paths are we left to be decided,” Mr. Ulum said. He said that he was unaware of Mr. Shahristani’s statements, but that the idea of offering a majority stake to a foreign company would be contentious. “This is very complicated and very sensitive,” he said. Iraq is not proposing to offer ownership stakes in oil or gas fields to foreign companies; the country’s new constitution would forbid this. Rather, international companies would own a larger share of the joint companies that would be created to develop and exploit the fields. Mr. Shahristani could not be reached for comment. Because of falling oil prices, Iraq has had to sharply decrease its budget. Mr. Shahristani said this contributed to a need “for an immediate increase of additional production.” Iraq produces 2.4 million barrels of oil a day and hopes to increase production to 6 million barrels a day within five to six years, Mr. Shahristani said. He estimated that the additional production would require an investment of $50 billion. In the past, Mr. Shahristani opposed any suggestion of production-sharing agreements with foreign oil companies. He softened that stand. “We are not ruling out completely production-sharing agreements, but this will most likely be for exploration fields that have not been discovered and assessed yet,” he said in Vienna. “We are considering offering these in a bid round sometime this year. There are 65 blocks with fairly good chances of discovering oil and gas in Iraq.”

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) announced plans to invest at record levels -- between $25 billion and $30 billion annually over the next five years -- to meet expected long-term growth in world energy demand. Tillerson outlined ExxonMobil’s major achievements in 2008 and plans for the future. Highlights include: Production started at eight major projects in 2008, which at their peak are expected to add the net equivalent of 260,000 barrels per day to the company'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. The company once again replaced more than 100 percent 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, net exploration acreage has been increased by about 40 percent since 2003. In the downstream, the company is progressing plans to invest more than $1 billion in lower-sulfur diesel projects at three refineries in the US and Europe. Once complete in 2010, these projects will allow an increase in lower-sulfur diesel production of 140,000 barrels per day. In the chemical business, the company has ramped up construction activity on world-scale petrochemical projects in China and Singapore, and continues to invest for specialty business growth, including a new plant in South Korea to manufacture lithium ion battery separator film to meet expected demand growth including batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. ExxonMobil continued its superior performance with a 2008 return on average capital employed of 34 percent, significantly higher than its closest competitor.

- Exxon Mobil put on a show of strength, pledging to increase investments in coming years, chiding rivals for mistimed acquisitions and reminding everyone it had the financial strength to make headway even as other companies pulled back, The New York Times’s Jad Mouawad reported. “The question now becomes who can be successful in more challenging times,” Rex W. Tillerson, Exxon’s chairman and chief executive, said at the company’s annual investor presentation at the New York Stock Exchange. Mr. Tillerson had a ready answer for his own question. Exxon, based in Irving, Tex., earned $45 billion in 2008, gave back $40 billion to its shareholders, invested $26 billion around the world, and managed to find more oil than it produced. It also outperformed all of its rivals, like Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell. Undaunted by a collapse in oil prices and the most severe global financial crisis since the 1930s, Exxon said it would dial up its investments over the next five years. It plans to spend as much as $150 billion through 2014. The company said it could fuel growth through acquisitions, or via partnerships with some of the world’s nationalized, state-run oil companies, Forbes.com reported. Its oil and gas production, which was stagnant recently, is expected to grow 2 to 3 percent a year in the next five years, thanks in part to the company’s big natural gas projects in the Middle East. Since 2004, Exxon has distributed $146 billion to its shareholders, either through dividend payments or share buybacks, more than was given back by Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Chevron combined. Exxon recently said it would back a carbon tax instead of the current proposal in Washington for an emissions trading system to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that are warming the planet. Mr. Tillerson said a carbon tax would be easier to collect and would allow businesses to make faster decisions on how to reduce emissions. “A cap-and-trade system is going to be opaque to consumers and, I would argue, even to investors,” Mr. Tillerson said, using jargon for an emissions trading plan. “A carbon tax is a transparent cost.” He said one of the biggest challenges that Exxon had faced in recent months was to protect its cash hoard of more than $31 billion from the market’s gyrations. “We had to move very quickly on where we placed the cash,” he said. Oil prices have dropped more than $100 a barrel since their peak last summer, but Mr. Tillerson seemed unmoved. “We told our people to ignore all this noise about $100 oil,” he said. “We were not planning for a world of $100 oil, or $200 oil. We’re not having to huddle up or get on special meetings every other day. We really are making no adjustments to our business strategy. Around the house it feels pretty much business as usual.”

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) announced that the company’s board of directors expects to elect Mr. A. P. (Andy) Swiger as senior vice president of the corporation effective April 1, 2009. Mr. Swiger, 52, currently president, ExxonMobil Gas & Power Marketing Company, will be a member of the corporation’s Management Committee. Throughout his career, Mr. Swiger has held a variety of technical and managerial positions in production, operations, engineering, planning and gas and power marketing. He joined Mobil Corporation in 1978 and after several assignments in Louisiana, London, New York, Fairfax and Calgary, he transferred to Aberdeen as manager of operations for exploration and production. He later held positions as producing manager for Europe, general manager of manufacturing at the Jurong refinery in Singapore and president of Mobil Canada. In 2001, he was appointed vice president, Africa, and in 2003 became vice president for Europe and Russia / Caspian for ExxonMobil Production Company. In 2004, he was appointed executive vice president of ExxonMobil Production Company, prior to becoming president of ExxonMobil Gas & Power Marketing Company in 2006. Born in Washington, DC, Mr. Swiger holds a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.

- More than 600 self-professed climate skeptics are meeting in a Times Square hotel this week to challenge what has become a broad scientific and political consensus: that without big changes in energy choices, humans will dangerously heat up the planet. The three-day International Conference on Climate Change — organized by the Heartland Institute, a nonprofit group seeking deregulation and unfettered markets — brings together political figures, conservative campaigners, scientists, an Apollo astronaut and the president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus. Organizers say the discussions are intended to counter the Obama administration and Democratic lawmakers, who have vowed to tackle global warming with legislation requiring cuts in the greenhouse gases that scientists have linked to rising temperatures. But two years after the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded with near certainty that most of the recent warming was a result of human influences, global warming’s skeptics are showing signs of internal rifts and weakening support. The meeting participants hold a wide range of views of climate science. Some concede that humans probably contribute to global warming but they argue that the shift in temperatures poses no urgent risk. Others attribute the warming, along with cooler temperatures in recent years, to solar changes or ocean cycles. But large corporations like Exxon Mobil, which in the past financed the Heartland Institute and other groups that challenged the climate consensus, have reduced support. Many such companies no longer dispute that the greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels pose risks. From 1998 to 2006, Exxon Mobil, for example, contributed more than $600,000 to Heartland, according to annual reports of charitable contributions from the company and company foundations. Alan T. Jeffers, a spokesman for Exxon Mobil, said by e-mail that the company had ended support “to several public policy research groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion about how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner.” Joseph L. Bast, the president of the Heartland Institute, said Exxon and other companies were just shifting their stance to improve their image. The Heartland meeting, he said, was the last bastion of intellectual honesty on the climate issue. “Major corporations are painting themselves green around global warming,” Mr. Bast said, adding that the companies have shifted their lobbying and public relations efforts toward trying to shape climate legislation in their favor. He said that contributions, over all, had continued to rise. But Kert Davies, a climate campaigner for Greenpeace, who is attending the Heartland event, said that the experts giving talks were “a shrinking collection of extremists” and that they were “left talking to themselves.” Organizers expected to top the attendance of about 500 at the first Heartland conference, held last year. They also point to the speaker’s roster, which included Mr. Klaus and Harrison Schmitt, a geologist, Apollo astronaut and former senator. A centerpiece of the 2008 meeting was the release of a report, “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Planet.” The document was expressly designed as a challenge to the reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This year, the meeting will focus on a more nuanced question: “Global warming: Was it ever a crisis?” Most of the talks at the meeting will challenge climate orthodoxy. But some presenters, including prominent figures who have been vocal in their criticism in the past, say they will also call on their colleagues to synchronize the arguments they are using against plans to curb greenhouse gases. In a keynote talk, Richard S. Lindzen, a professor at M.I.T. and a longtime skeptic of the mainstream consensus that global warming poses a danger, first delivered a biting attack on what he called the “climate alarm movement.” There is no solid scientific evidence to back up the models used by climate scientists who warn of dire consequences if warming continues, he said. But Dr. Lindzen also criticized widely publicized assertions by other skeptics that variations in the sun were driving temperature changes in recent decades. To attribute short-term variation in temperatures to a single cause, whether human-generated gases or something else, is erroneous, he said.

- Speaking of the sun’s slight variability, he said, “Acting as though this is the alternative” to blaming greenhouse gases “is asking for trouble.” S. Fred Singer, a physicist often referred to by critics and supporters alike as the dean of climate contrarians, said that he would be running public and private sessions aimed at focusing participants on which skeptical arguments were supported by science and which were not. “As a physicist, I am concerned that some skeptics (a very few) are ignoring the physical basis,” Dr. Singer said in an e-mail message. “There is one who denies that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, which goes against actual data,” Dr. Singer said, adding that other skeptics wrongly contend that “humans are not responsible for the measured increase in atmospheric CO2.” There are notable absences from the conference this year. Russell Seitz, a physicist from Cambridge, Mass., gave a talk at last year’s meeting. But Dr. Seitz, who has lambasted environmental campaigners as distorting climate science, now warns that the skeptics are in danger of doing the same thing. The most strident advocates on either side of the global warming debate, he said, are “equally oblivious to the data they seek to discount or dramatize.” John R. Christy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama who has long publicly questioned projections of dangerous global warming, most recently at a House committee hearing last month, said he had skipped both Heartland conferences to avoid the potential for “guilt by association.” Many participants said that any division or dissent was minor and that the global recession and a series of years with cooler temperatures would help them in combating changes in energy policy in Washington. “The only place where this alleged climate catastrophe is happening is in the virtual world of computer models, not in the real world,” said Marc Morano, a speaker at the meeting and a spokesman on environmental issues for Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma. But several climate scientists who are seeking to curb greenhouse gases strongly criticized the meeting. Stephen H. Schneider, a climatologist at Stanford University and an author of many reports by the intergovernmental climate panel, said, after reviewing the text of presentations for the Heartland meeting, that they were efforts to “bamboozle the innocent.” Yvo de Boer, head of the United Nations office managing international treaty talks on climate change, said, “I don’t believe that what the skeptics say should provide any excuse to delay further” action against global warming. But he added: “Skeptics are good. It’s important to give people the confidence that the issue is being called into question.”

- ExxonMobil, in conjunction with Dr. Bernard Harris and The Harris Foundation, announced the schedule for the second year of “The Dream Tour,” a program designed to help middle school students across the country reach their potential through the power of strong math and science skills. Dr. Harris made this formal announcement while speaking to 500 students at Brenda M. Scott Middle School in Detroit.

- Janice Zhang and Austin West received Best in Fair awards at the 2009 ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair. Zhang and West’s projects were selected from among more than 1,100 as the best in the state, in the senior and junior division respectively. The 23rd annual competition, which concluded with the awards ceremony, began on March 27. During the awards, more than $50,000 in scholarships were presented to outstanding competitors. Students competed in two divisions – junior (grades six through eight) and senior (grades nine through 12) – and each project was assigned to one of the fair’s 19 categories. Awards were given to first through fourth place winners in each category, and Grand Prize and Best in Fair projects in each division. Senior division Grand Prize winners, including Zhang, received all-expense paid trips to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) May 10-15 in Reno, Nev. The top 10 percent of competitors in the junior division qualified to participate in the Discovery Channel Young Scientists Challenge.

April

• Upstream news:

- ExxonMobil Production Company announced that it has mobilized the drilling rig for the Point Thomson Project. The rig, owned by Nabors Alaska, has been upgraded to drill the high pressure wells at Point Thomson. It was moved from Deadhorse to the drilling site in modules, some weighing more than one million pounds. As there are no permanent roads to Point Thomson, Fairweather E&P Services Inc. and Nanuq/AFC constructed over 30 miles of ice road to enable the transport of heavy equipment and materials while protecting the North Slope environment. Most of the ice road follows the shore line along the Beaufort Sea. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) authorized the ice-road permits on January 27, allowing mobilization of the drilling rig and provided guidance to other regulatory agencies to expedite permitting to allow drilling to begin.

• Downstream news:

- ExxonMobil, in order to further enhance the company's flagship brand of motor oils, introduces Mobil 1 Racing oils. These new products, available in 0W-20 and 0W-30 viscosities, represent the next generation of Mobil 1 race oils. Mobil 1 Racing oils deliver outstanding power via friction-modified low-viscosity synthetic base oils combined with boosted levels of anti-wear additives to protect and extend the life of engine hardware.

- ExxonMobil Chemical is demonstrating its continued leadership in hydrocarbon fluids by applying proprietary catalyst hydrogenation technology to introduce its Ultra-Low Aromatic (ULA) product family. The technology enables the production of ULA fluids that comply with the most stringent environmental and regulatory requirements. This capability ensures that ExxonMobil customers will be able to access an ultra-low aromatic solution for their markets as the need arises.

- ExxonMobil Chemical has introduced Santoprene™ TPV 8211-85 M350, a high-flow thermoplastic vulcanizate (TPV) providing a unique “comfort touch” and excellent surface qualities for automotive interiors while offering significant cost reduction opportunities. The “comfort touch” provided by Santoprene TPV M350 prevents the cushion-like indentation that is often associated with alternative foamed material structures when pressed. Santoprene TPV M350 meets the needs of automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1 suppliers looking for cost-effective solutions to enhance the appearance, style and feel of a range of automotive interiors. It offers a range of benefits including high “comfort touch”, low and stable gloss level, high scratch and mar resistance, good abrasion and chemical resistance, low fogging and odor emission. Also colorable, Santoprene TPV M350 is ideal for door panels, center consoles, B-C pillars, lower instrument panels and the back cover of seats.

- ExxonMobil announced that Mobil 1, the world’s leading fully synthetic motor oil, has been selected as the factory and service-fill endorsed motor oil for all models of the new 2010 Porsche Panamera. Scheduled to be introduced in Fall 2009, the new, four-door Panamera represents Porsche’s first-ever luxury Gran Turismo.

• Business/Finance news:

- Oil prices have resumed their decline after the government reported that U.S. crude stockpiles hit a fresh 15-year high last week. Crude oil inventories rose 2.84 million barrels to 359.4 million in the week ended March 27, the highest since July 1993, the Energy Department said. Gasoline inventories also rose, unexpectedly. Near-term oil futures fell as low as $47.26 a barrel during today’s trading session, and most recently were off $1.31 to $48.35. The price has slumped from a four-month high of $54.34 last Thursday. Total U.S. daily fuel demand was 18.9 million barrels, on average, over the last four weeks, down 4.4% from a year earlier, Bloomberg reported. That was the lowest consumption for a four-week period since October. If the economy is turning, it isn't showing up so far in fuel consumption.

- The Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy announced that 200 third- through fifth-grade teachers from across the country have been selected to attend the national Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy to be held at the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey. The selection of the teachers from applications submitted at www.sendmyteacher.com marks the first time that the five-year-old professional development program has chosen teachers from all 50 states. To kick off the announcement, PGA golfer Phil Mickelson surprised Houston teacher Amanda Santana at The Rice School by announcing her selection at a school assembly.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) congratulated U.S. Doctors for Africa and African Synergy for organizing the April 20-21 Leadership for Health African First Ladies Health Summit, the first ever African First Ladies Summit to be held in the United States. The First Ladies will introduce their domestic and region-wide efforts across Africa in the areas of maternal health, girls' education and HIV/AIDS; engage in dialogue with other leaders from the field of international health; and identify actions in-line with the UN Millennium Development Goals. ExxonMobil is an organizing partner of the Summit as well as the presenting sponsor of the U.S. Doctors for Africa Gala to honor the First Ladies on April 21.

- Los Angeles County supervisors unanimously approved a plan to relocate the few remaining residents of the blighted Ujima Village subsidized housing complex in Willowbrook within 90 days, but they turned down housing officials' appeal for eviction powersCiting contamination concerns, county housing officials had urged supervisors to give them the authority to evict those reluctant to leave. But some of the 14 remaining Ujima residents and a lawyer from the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles told supervisors that county housing officials had failed to help them find and pay for equivalent housing as required by federal law. "The law requires that people be relocated to a place that is comparable and decent and safe and that there be some additional oversight because to date, that has not happened," said Louis Rafti, housing attorney with the Legal Aid Foundation who has been working with Ujima residents since June. Residents said housing officials pressured their former Ujima neighbors to move into smaller apartments in more dangerous areas -- options that remaining tenants said were unacceptable. "We were a close-knit family here and everything's been torn apart," said Faye Tolliver, 46, a special education aide who has lived at Ujima for 25 years. "These people have left us over here." In November, supervisors ordered the county housing authority to close Ujima Village and begin relocating residents after tests showed potentially dangerous soil and water contamination at the 16-acre complex, a former oil tank storage yard for what is now Exxon Mobil. Ujima Village was built in 1972 by a group of African American architects and developers with a mortgage underwritten by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. At its peak, the grassy complex of 34 stucco buildings housed more than 600 people in 300 one- to four-bedroom apartments. HUD took over the complex in 1990, and the county bought it from HUD for $1 in 1995. When the county attempted to sell the property in 2004, testing by potential developers revealed soil and water contamination serious enough to warrant relocating tenants, housing officials said. Housing officials told supervisors that they'd hired a consulting firm to help residents find at least three comparable apartments within five miles of Ujima Village and gave them more than a year to move.

- More than 300 Hispanic students and their families from Houston are receiving a full day of hands-on instruction to learn how to apply to, attend and pay for college. Hosted by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and sponsored by ExxonMobil, the program is called “Steps for Success Saturday” and is designed to help many first-generation college attendees navigate through the application process. The free event, held at Stephen F. Austin High School in central Houston, attracted families from eight Houston high schools in an effort to encourage more Hispanic students to pursue higher education.

- ExxonMobil and its employees donated more than $36 million to 900 colleges and universities across the United States through the ExxonMobil Foundation’s 2008 Educational Matching Gift Program. ExxonMobil employees, retirees, surviving spouses and directors made more than 8,500 individual contributions totaling more than $11 million to institutions of higher education in 2008, which were matched by the ExxonMobil Foundation with more than $25 million in unrestricted educational grants.

- ExxonMobil announced that 92 universities and colleges across New York are recipients of $3.24 million through the ExxonMobil Foundation’s 2008 Educational Matching Gift Program. Since its inception in 1962, the program has provided $398 million to higher education institutions in the United States. Through the matching program, donors may pledge up to $7,500 per year to colleges or universities with which they are affiliated, the American Indian College Foundation, the Hispanic Scholarship Foundation and the United Negro College Fund. Donations are matched on a 3-to-1 basis.

- ExxonMobil announced that 19 universities and colleges across Louisiana are recipients of $2.58 million through the ExxonMobil Foundation’s 2008 Educational Matching Gift Program.

- ExxonMobil announced that 35 universities and colleges across Virginia are recipients of $1.20 million through the ExxonMobil Foundation’s 2008 Educational Matching Gift Program.

- ExxonMobil announced that 29 universities and colleges across New Jersey are recipients of $1.07 million through the ExxonMobil Foundation’s 2008 Educational Matching Gift Program.

- ExxonMobil announced that 73 universities and colleges across Texas are recipients of $8.33 million through the ExxonMobil Foundation’s 2008 Educational Matching Gift Program.

- In commemoration of World Malaria Day on April 25, ExxonMobil announced a donation of an additional $1 million to help USAID in its ongoing efforts to fight malaria in Angola. The new funding brings ExxonMobil’s commitment to organizations engaged in important community and social development projects in Africa to more than $150 million, which includes $55 million committed to programs to fight malaria through the company’s Africa Health Initiative. The grant will support the President’s Malaria Initiative and will help train health-care workers in all aspects of malaria prevention and treatment, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable groups – pregnant women and young children. Since the initiation of the President’s Malaria Initiative in 2005 ExxonMobil has contributed $4 million to support its activities in Angola.

- Mr. S. M. (Steve) Cassiani, president, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, has elected to retire on May 31, 2009, after more than 40 years of service. It is anticipated that the Board of Directors of ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company will elect Mr. S. M. (Steve) Greenlee as president, effective June 1, 2009. Mr. Greenlee is currently vice president for Asia Pacific and Middle East with ExxonMobil Exploration Company.

- ExxonMobil will release its first quarter 2009 earnings on Thursday, April 30, 2009. The news release will be issued over Business Wire.

- - Exxon Mobil unseated Wal-Mart Stores in the 2009 Fortune 500 list, during what the magazine called the worst year ever for the country’s largest publicly traded companies. Fortune’s list ranked companies by their revenue in 2008. Exxon, which is based in Irving, Tex., took in $442.85 billion in revenue last year, up almost 19 percent from 2007. The company also had the biggest annual profit, earning $45.2 billion. Wal-Mart had held the top spot for six of the last seven years but fell to No. 2 this year. Still, the retail giant’s 2008 revenue climbed 7 percent to $405.6 billion, as the battered economy sent more consumers searching for bargains. The company, which is based in Bentonville, Ark., had $13.4 billion in annual profit, an increase of about 5 percent. But overall earnings for the companies on the list plunged 85 percent to $98.9 billion from $645 billion in 2007. It was the biggest one-year decline in the 55-year history of the Fortune 500 list. Energy companies continued to dominate many of the top positions, as last summer’s skyrocketing oil and gas prices more than compensated for their plunge in the fall. Chevron held on to third place with $263.16 billion in revenue, up 25 percent. ConocoPhillips climbed one place to fourth, with $230.76 billion in revenue. General Electric, the diverse conglomerate whose troubled financial arm has been weighing on recent results, rose one notch to fifth. General Motors fell two spots to sixth, as revenue fell 18 percent and losses totaled $30.86 billion in the imploding car market. Ford Motor followed, with $146.28 billion in revenue. Among the hardest hit in 2008 were financial services companies, Fortune said. Banks, securities firms and insurers took cumulative losses of $213.4 billion, accounting for almost 70 percent of the total dollar decline from the peak year of 2006, the magazine said.

- The year the oil companies seriously began exploring the icy waters off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- where Nuiqsut whalers have hunted for as long as men have wandered on dark waters -- the villagers lost two bowhead. The big whales had veered 30 miles from their usual migration path, and the men had no choice but to follow them through ice and mounting swells in their 20-foot boats. Hunters usually can kill the creatures with a fair amount of efficiency after they are harpooned. But this time was different. The bowhead, longtime whaling captain Eli Nukapigak said, were "spooked." One of the whales flipped and dove, with the harpoon line twisted around the propeller, dragging the boat toward the sea floor. The crew managed to leap to safety. Another boat had been towing the second whale back to camp when it was overcome in the fierce seas. The hunters had to cut the whale loose. "That kind of disaster we don't want to see again," Nukapigak -- dressed in a parka on a recent 10-below-zero spring morning -- said of the 1985 hunt. For the captain and others in this Inupiat Eskimo village on Alaska's North Slope, that may depend on whether the oil industry is allowed to open more of the iceberg-strewn Arctic waters to drilling. A federal appeals court this month put the brakes on a plan to lease more than 78 million acres of the Beaufort, Chukchi and Bering seas to oil and gas developers, ordering a full environmental review before the program can proceed. But that could be little more than a speed bump in the rush to commercialize the Arctic, which global warming (and the resulting shrinking sea ice) has made accessible as never before. Though the conservation community has fought successfully over the last decade to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the remaining pristine areas of the North Slope have been going fast. In September, the Bureau of Land Management put 1.5 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, with its shimmering lakes and verdant tundra, up for lease to developers. Now the battle is moving offshore. The coast around Prudhoe Bay is already dotted with drilling operations such as British Petroleum's Liberty project, which, when completed, will have the world's longest diagonal wells -- reaching eight miles out from facilities near shore. In contrast, the proposed Chukchi Sea leases would start 25 miles offshore and reach 200 miles out. Obama administration officials have said they will weigh the nation's energy needs against the desire to protect crucial resources. But with active North Slope fields reaching the end of their production life, the allure of an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off Alaska's shores is strong. Gov. Sarah Palin has warned that without new drilling, the 800-mile-long trans-Alaska oil pipeline could be forced to shut down in as little as 10 years -- crippling America's hopes for energy independence, not to mention her state. "The Alaska offshore is home to some of the most prolific, undeveloped hydrocarbon basins in the world -- reserves that would not only fuel Alaska's economy for decades to come, but oil and gas reserves that would also provide the nation with much-needed energy security," said Pete Slaiby, general manager of Shell Exploration Alaska. The company, which had been planning the first major offshore lease development in the Beaufort Sea before it was blocked, argued its case to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar during a recent hearing in Anchorage. The Interior Department is evaluating not only the 2007-12 offshore drilling plan struck down by the court, but also an even more ambitious program rolled out in the waning hours of the Bush administration to expand leases in the Arctic Ocean, from the 74.5 million acres now being offered to 127.5 million by 2015. Conservationists worry that a major oil spill could knock down the region's delicate house of cards: The ice pack in 2007 was at its lowest level since satellite monitoring began in 1979, putting tremendous stress on animals such as walruses, seals and polar bears that depend on the ice to hunt, rest and avoid the oil industrial zones onshore. More than 500 spills of varying sizes occur on the North Slope each year, on average. The federal government recently estimated there was a 40% chance of a large crude spill from development in the Chukchi Sea. And though spills in open water are notoriously hard to clean up -- Prince William Sound still has oil on some of its beaches from the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster -- one occurring amid tight chunks of broken ice would present even more problems. "It is beyond the pale of stupidity that, in the face of everything that's happening in the Arctic, that we would launch a drilling program," said Jim Ayers, a vice president of the marine conservation group Oceana. The Minerals Management Service, which oversees federal leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, has spent $300 million on environmental studies in the Beaufort and Chuckchi seas, officials said. And the chances of a serious spill are low, said regional director John Goll. "We are absolutely not talking about an Exxon Valdez," he said. "For us, a major spill is 1,000 barrels or more. When folks talk about 50% of [drilling operations] are going to have a spill, remember that anything that puts a sheen in the water is considered a spill. I always say, look back at the record. And it's a pretty strong record right now." Goll also said that the government had moved to lessen the effects of offshore drilling on the bowhead whale hunt by removing some areas from leasing and limiting oil operations during certain times of the year. In its opinion, the Washington, D.C., appellate court found that the government had failed to thoroughly weigh the environmental impact of offshore Arctic leasing, and it sent the Minerals Management Service back to the drawing board. The panel also found merit in claims that native Eskimos have a right to seek protection of animals that have been an economic and cultural resource for a millennium. Endangered bowhead whales -- of which Eskimos may kill a varying quota of usually up to 40 a year -- form one of the backbones of native culture and diet. The hunts, elders say, teach young people a skill that encourages respect and keeps them from fleeing the barren villages that dot the Arctic coast. There are about 10,500 bowheads, which can grow up to 60 feet long, plying the waters off Alaska's coast. A 2007 survey found nearly half that population living inside the proposed drilling area. "It would only be a matter of time before something like Exxon Valdez would occur in our subsistence area," said Thomas Napageak Jr., 25, a whaling captain and Nuiqsut's vice mayor. Some here also worry that the caribou that once could be hunted just outside the village now most often stay miles away. And some of them seem sick. "This past summer, I saw a caribou that had a tumor on its right hind quarter, and it was the size of a baseball," Napageak said. "A couple months ago, I got one that had green pus on its neck and shoulders." Even so, Nuiqsut -- like other villages across the North Slope -- has been lured by oil's promise of jobs and stock dividends. A ConocoPhillips development seven miles away, on the edge of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, has been a godsend for this village of run-down prefab houses, roaring snowmobiles and old whaling boats near the Colville River Delta. While other Native Alaskans were struggling last year with soaring fuel prices and had trouble affording food, about 170 Nuiqsut families collected dividends of nearly $30,000 each from the native Kuukpik Corp., which owns land on which the project was built. Nearly everyone in the village of 400 also collected $1,523 last month from Arctic Slope Regional Corp., which represents Native Alaskans across the North Slope. (That is on top of the $2,069 Permanent Fund dividend check distributed to all Alaskans last year as their share of the state's invested oil wealth. The government also sweetened the deal with a $1,200 bonus to help compensate for high fuel prices.) In exchange for the village's blessing to expand its Alpine project, ConocoPhillips has promised to build a road connecting Nuiqsut to the oil site and nearby hunting grounds. The company also is extending a natural gas pipeline to Nuiqsut -- one of the few villages in Alaska that will have gas heat -- and is paying $250,000 in compensation for any impacts to hunting and fishing. "We recognized that development is occurring and that there are benefits to be had," Kuukpik Chief Executive Lanston Chinn said. "The reality was . . . if oil and gas development is going to proceed, what do we want out of it?"

- The Board of Directors of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) declared a cash dividend of 42 cents per share on the Common Stock, payable on June 10, 2009 to shareholders of record of Common Stock at the close of business on May 13, 2009. This second quarter dividend compares with $ .40 cents per share paid in the first quarter of 2009.

- ExxonMobil posted solid first quarter results despite the slowdown in the global marketplace and sharply lower commodity prices. ExxonMobil’s first quarter earnings were $4.6 billion, down 58% from the first quarter of last year. Earnings per share were down 54% reflecting lower earnings and the benefit of the share purchase program.

May

• Upstream news:

- Exxon Mobil Corporation announced that it has entered into a Joint Development Agreement with Weatherford International Ltd. to develop and commercialize a new completion technology called MazeFloTM, designed to mitigate sand production risk in a broad range of applications. Under terms of the agreement, Houston-based ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company and Weatherford will work together to commercialize ExxonMobil’s patented sand control technology that utilizes multiple screens and compartment baffles to improve well reliability and longevity. The new technology is designed to selectively limit sand production from problematic intervals, while maintaining full production from others. The agreement with Weatherford covers design, engineering and manufacturing of prototype sand screens to address common industry challenges such as sand retention, mechanical integrity and quality control. MazeFlo is applicable in both onshore and offshore wells, and will complement ExxonMobil's broad suite of industry-leading completion technologies.

• Downstream news:

- ExxonMobil launched a new and improved Service Station Locator feature on its website, aimed at offering a more user-friendly experience and allowing easier access to information about Exxon and Mobil retail locations and services. This updated feature will offer an improved user experience by utilizing state-of-the-art Google mapping technology, and free-form searching. Customers can easily plan their driving route which will identify all of the Exxon and Mobil branded stations along the way. Additional enhancements include turn-by-turn driving directions and the ability to find services you need, such as a convenience store, service bays, diesel fuel, ATMs, or a car wash.

- ExxonMobil Chemical broke ground on its technology center in Shanghai, China. The event marks the start of construction and represents an important milestone for ExxonMobil Chemical's continuing business growth in China. The groundbreaking ceremony, held on its site at Shanghai Zizhu Science-based Industrial Park, was attended by Liu Jinping, vice chairman, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce; Steve Pryor, president, ExxonMobil Chemical Company; Bob Davis, vice president, Global Technology, ExxonMobil Chemical Company; and Paul Theys, chairman, ExxonMobil (China) Investment Co., Ltd.

- ExxonMobil Chemical continues to extend its technology leadership with the development of two new grades of V series co-extruded battery separator films. These new developmental grades will help make lithium-ion batteries (LIB) safer than ever before for hybrid and electric vehicles, power tools and electronic devices including laptop computers. Featuring improved thermal stability and lower shutdown temperature for a higher safety margin, the developmental grades add to the company’s battery separator film portfolio that includes the award-winning V-series separator films introduced in 2007. Based on the same advanced co-extrusion technology platform and proprietary wet bi-orientation manufacturing process as V-series separator films, the developmental grades can help prevent thermal runaway in batteries while providing LIB designers more flexibility in selecting electrode systems and formats in battery designs to improve power and capacity density.

- May 12 marks the official inauguration of the South Hook Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) receiving terminal at Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, Wales. The ceremony takes place today in the presence of HM The Queen of the United Kingdom and His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, as well as other members of both royal families. The South Hook terminal represents a technological milestone as a part of the Qatargas 2 LNG value chain project that will make additional supplies of cleaner-burning natural gas available to the UK and the rest of Europe. South Hook LNG Terminal Company Ltd. is owned by Qatar Petroleum (67.5%), ExxonMobil (24.15%) and Total (8.35%). It is part of the larger Qatargas 2 joint venture which supplies gas to the UK from Qatar's North Field. The natural gas comes from the North Field off the coast of Qatar, and is brought ashore to be processed and liquefied at Ras Laffan Industrial City in Qatar. It is then loaded onto a fleet of world-class Q-Max and Q-Flex LNG ships and transported to the UK. The terminal adds to the UK’s LNG import capacity and energy diversity with the ability to deliver up to 2 billion cubic feet of gas daily into the natural gas grid when it reaches full operational capacity by the end of 2009. The terminal, which is being completed in two phases, includes five LNG storage tanks, a regasification plant, ship unloading systems and a jetty to allow berthing of the world’s largest LNG vessels.

- ExxonMobil Chemical will showcase its broad product portfolio at Booth D41 in Hall 10.2 at ChinaPlas 2009 International Exhibition at the Pazhou Exhibition Complex in Guangzhou.

- ExxonMobil Chemical’s affiliate ExxonMobil Yugen Kaisha (EMYK) announced that Japan Butyl Co. Ltd. will increase its butyl rubber production capacity by 18,000 tons per year at the Kawasaki Plant. This expansion will increase its capacity to 98,000 tons per year when the project is completed in late 2010. This expansion will incorporate ExxonMobil’s recent advances in process technology. One such new proprietary technology advancement allows for the butyl polymerization reaction, which normally occurs at -95°C, to operate at -75°C. This new technological advancement will provide significant energy and capital investment savings.

- ExxonMobil Chemical will demonstrate its global leadership and commitment to the nonwovens industry at booth 1H15 at ANEX 09 + SINCE 09 in Shanghai from May 20-22, 2009. A new resin, ExxonMobil™ PP 3885E1 polypropylene, will be introduced, while ExxonMobil Chemical’s broad portfolio of Vistamaxx™ specialty elastomers and its polypropylene (PP) solutions for nonwoven applications will also be on display. ExxonMobil PP 3885E1 resin offers a unique opportunity to improve productivity, reduce waste caused by fabric defects, increase line capacity, and change line configuration while maintaining fabric properties. The novel molecular design of ExxonMobil PP 3885E1 resin provides efficient processing on the latest generation of spunbond equipment. Spunbond production can be increased by more than 15 percent without increasing the amount of hard-spot fabric defects. Compared with conventional PP, ExxonMobil PP 3885E1 resin produces finer fibers, which can provide better fabric uniformity and a softer feel.

- ExxonMobil Chemical Technology Licensing, LLC announced it has signed an agreement with Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) to license ExxonMobil's tubular high pressure low density polyethylene process (HPPE) technology for Sipchem's new world-scale ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) plant. The 200,000 metric ton per year plant will be built at Sipchem's site in Jubail Industrial City, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as part of Sipchem’s third phase projects. The plant will be operational by the end of 2013. The highly efficient and flexible design of the Sipchem plant will be based on current state-of-the-art reactors operated by ExxonMobil Chemical to manufacture EVA and low density polyethylene (LDPE) products, allowing for Sipchem to produce a wide range of both EVAs and LDPE grades. In addition to Sipchem, ExxonMobil has eight licensees of its proprietary HPPE process technology around the world.

• Business/Finance news:

- Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, reported its lowest quarterly profits in nearly six years as lower oil prices slashed earnings across the industry. Despite the recent collapse in prices, Exxon earned $4.55 billion in the first quarter, down 58 percent from $10.89 billion in the period last year. Profit fell to 92 cents a share in the quarter, from $2.02 in the year-earlier period. Exxon, whose operations stretch from Nigeria to Siberia, managed to wring out bigger profits than any of its rivals because of its size and its obsessive attention to controlling costs. These industry costs, which had doubled in the last few years, have been falling lately as companies cancel projects or delay investments. Oil prices have fallen sharply in recent months as a global recession drastically slowed economic activity around the world. Crude oil futures contracts traded in New York have averaged about $43 in the first quarter of this year, compared with nearly $100 a barrel in the first quarter of 2008. Oil settled at $51.12 a barrel, up 15 cents. Exxon said that the drop in prices would not change its spending plans for the year. The company said it still expected to spend a record $29 billion this year to expand production and develop new projects. But in a bid to preserve some of its cash, it also signaled that it would reduce its share buyback program by $2 billion in the second quarter. While other oil companies are trimming or ending their share-buyback programs, Exxon spent $7 billion in the first quarter to purchase shares. In the second quarter, it plans to spend $5 billion buying back shares. Exxon had $25 billion in cash at the end of the first quarter, down from $31 billion at the end of last year. Despite the market’s decline and the drop in gasoline consumption, Exxon recently regained its position as the largest American corporation in the Fortune 500 list of companies, overtaking Wal-Mart. The company’s shares have lost 25 percent of their value in the last year, compared with a 37 percent drop on the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. Exxon’s report caps a week of weaker earnings for major oil companies. Royal Dutch Shell and BP both reported lower profits in recent days. Shell’s net income for the first quarter fell 62 percent, to $3.49 billion. At BP, profits fell by 64 percent, to $2.56 billion, prompting the company’s chief executive, Tony Hayward, to scale back spending this year by 9 percent, to $20 billion. ConocoPhillips said that its profit plunged by 80 percent, to $840 million. Chevron is scheduled to report its results for the quarter. Even as it outperforms its peers, Exxon faces stark strategic questions about its future. The Obama administration’s goals of cutting carbon emissions and reducing oil consumption threaten Exxon’s profits and its business model. The cap-and-trade policy, which is being considering by the administration, would raise production costs and increase energy prices. Exxon, which has long fought policies to reduce carbon emissions, has recently championed the idea of setting a carbon tax to reduce emissions, a measure favored by some economists. Many analysts do not consider a carbon tax to be politically realistic, while environmental advocates prefer the certainty offered by a declining cap on carbon emissions.

- ExxonMobil announced its sponsorship of the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards to honor America’s Latino students who excel in engineering and mathematics.

- Chevron, America's third largest company, may be asked to pay up to $27 billion in damages in a lawsuit arising from oil-drilling related pollution in an Ecuadorian portion of the Amazon rain forest. The damage is the result of 23 years of oil extraction by Texaco, which Chevron bought in 2001, and Petroecuador, the national oil company. A suit was first filed in 1993 in a federal court in New York and, for nine years, the oil company fought for the trial to be held in Ecuador. In a textbook example of "be careful what you wish for," Texaco won that battle but now the new owners find themselves facing big time judgment in a small court in Lago Agrio. The case is full of claims and counterclaims and so 60 Minutes took the time to actually go to Ecuador and talk with some of the people involved and check out some of the pollution ponds that dot the area. They also sat down with Chevron's manager of global issues and policy, Silvia Garrigo, who presented their side of the story. It all makes for informative and, if you like to watch corporate mouthpieces squirm, entertaining watching. Unfortunately, even if the court does order the company to pay the full requested amount, Chevron is determined not to fork over any cash. In a news report-style video of their own that questions pretty much every aspect of the case, they say that, "...if the verdict goes against it, it will appeal in Ecuador and, if needed, will fight its enforcement."

- These are the 10 largest claims pending for the California Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund by big corporations: Union Oil Co.: $262.9 million; BP: $190.9 million; Equilon Enterprises (Shell and Texaco Partnership): $175.1 million; Chevron Corp.: $156.4 million; Exxon Mobil Corp.: $48.5 million; 7-Eleven: $36.6 million; ConocoPhillips: $31.3 million; Ultramar: $20.8 million; Circle K: $13 million; Yosemite Concessions: $8.1 million

- Some of the country's wealthiest oil companies and gas station chains have collected hundreds of millions of dollars from a cleanup fund conceived to help smaller, financially struggling entities. Environmentalists and former lawmakers who pushed to establish the fund, which motorists pay into whenever they buy gasoline in California, say they never intended it for large energy companies with the means to repair environmental damage from their own operations. Yet big firms have taken $490 million from the fund since it was created in 1989. Although the number of small businesses tapping the fund has dropped sharply, the program has been extended repeatedly amid lobbying by the big, politically powerful corporations. Those companies are now positioned to collect up to $900 million more. Among the beneficiaries of the fund is Exxon Mobil Corp., which earned a record $45.2-billion profit last year. The logic behind the fund was that "mom-and-pop service stations wouldn't have the money for this," said V. John White, a veteran environmental lobbyist, referring to the cost of removing leaky underground storage tanks and cleansing contaminated soil. Where petroleum was leaking into soil, it was fouling water supplies. Some small businesses in rural areas had been bankrupted by the cleanup costs. Some were abandoning their properties. Former state Sen. Barry Keene, the North Coast Democrat after whom the tank cleanup fund is named, said the legislation he drafted to create it was intended, in particular, to help small businesses and individuals in his rural district. In an interview, he recalled being moved by one Californian who inherited property requiring cleanup that would have cost significantly more than the land was worth. "We had cases like that," he said, so the fund was aimed "toward the shallow pockets." Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, also a Democrat, worked with Keene on the legislation as a state senator. "We felt the big oil companies could take care of themselves," he said. Big oil companies were to fund most of the cleanup kitty through a fee levied by the state. They pass the fee on to drivers at the pump. The large companies successfully lobbied for access to the fund at its inception and secured a provision guaranteeing them at least 14% of the money, according to company officials and legislative staff. Since that time, state records show, the companies have received nearly 20% of the approximately $2.4 billion in payouts. Lawmakers renewed the program for eight more years in 2008, "even after most of the mom-and-pops had finished their cleanups," White said. Motorists today pay a 14-cent levy for the fund on every 10 gallons of gasoline they buy. Representatives of the large companies note that smaller businesses get first access to the money. And even though it is drivers who actually foot the bill, the corporations say that because they are ultimately responsible for the fees, they should not be barred from making claims on a substantial share of the fund. "The oil industry has paid millions into this fund, it has always supported the fund, it has supported increases in the fees when appropriate," said Tupper Hull, a spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Assn., which helped craft the most recent legislation to extend the program. "The industry has accepted the reality that they are at the very end of a list of priorities for being reimbursed." The fee has been increased several times. The last hike, of 14%, occurred in 2004. A state Senate committee analysis asked then whether, "at a time of extreme budget cuts and scarce resources for environmental and public-health protection," Californians should be paying more to a fund "that primarily benefits large corporations and others." But lawmakers approved an extension then and again in 2008. It was one of the few measures Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed last year, when he made a point of vetoing almost everything lawmakers sent his way. The program, originally set to expire in 2005, will live until at least 2016. Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Lisa Page said the extensions have been "about continuing an environmental program that removes dirty underground oil tanks that are leaking." She said the governor also backs a separate proposal to make the fund available to small gas station businesses struggling to pay for costly fuel nozzle upgrades required by new state air pollution rules. The extension the governor signed last year, a bill by Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), irked some early champions of the cleanup fund because it promises to be particularly beneficial to large companies and retail chains. Those companies have fought gasoline taxes for transportation projects and other purposes. Legislative staff members involved in drafting the extension bill, introduced at the request of the 7-Eleven convenience store and service station company, say it is geared to keep the fund solvent until the state can clear out all pending claims, 4,400 of them from companies with more than 500 employees. Major oil companies and gas retailers, including Exxon Mobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips and 7-Eleven, account for most of the claims by big companies. They are seeking a total of $900 million in reimbursements; 7-Eleven has 205 pending claims totaling $36.5 million, according to state records. Large companies lobbied heavily for the latest extensions, playing key roles in a state-sponsored stakeholder committee, testifying at hearings and lobbying lawmakers individually, records show. Lowenthal said that although he doesn't necessarily support the oil companies passing their fees on to drivers, he believes the program was always intended for the cleanup of all storage tanks. And he noted that his extension legislation also initiated a program to divert $10 million from the fund annually to pay for cleanup of abandoned storage tanks. The oil companies and gas station chains are among California's largest campaign contributors year after year and wield considerable influence in the Capitol. 7-Eleven, for example, donated $80,000 to state politicians last year, including a $10,000 contribution to the governor two months before he signed the Lowenthal bill. Oil companies gave $1.4 million to California politicians and ballot measures they supported between passage of the Lowenthal bill in August and the Nov. 4 election. The recent decline in gasoline consumption has reduced the fund's revenue, causing the state to temporarily suspend a number of payments to companies big and small. But as a result of the 2008 legislation, the big firms are the ones positioned to cash in when the economy rebounds, energy use rises and more money flows to the fund. By 2016, state statistics suggest, most of the remaining claims filed by small businesses and individuals will have been paid.

- ExxonMobil is holding its annual meeting of shareholders on Wednesday, May 27, 2009. Media access will be provided to authorized representatives of commercial news organizations who pre-register by Friday, May 22, 2009.

- ExxonMobil Chemical announced that Arthur J. Sullivan, global vice president of its Butyl Polymer business, will receive the International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers’ (IISRP) prestigious General Award at the group’s annual meeting in New York City. The award ceremony, set for Tuesday, May 12, will help mark the 50th anniversary of the IISRP, an international trade association whose corporate members produce more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of synthetic rubber. The IISRP meeting runs from May 11-14. Sullivan is being honored for his contributions to the industry and to the continuing success of the IISRP. He became an IISRP director in 1998 and has served as the Americas Section President and as a member of the Finance, Pension and Audit Committee, the IISRP’s primary oversight body.

- ExxonMobil is holding its annual meeting of shareholders on Wednesday, May 27, 2009. Media access will be provided to authorized representatives of commercial news organizations who pre-register by Friday, May 22, 2009.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) issued its 2008 Corporate Citizenship Report detailing actions to improve environmental, economic and social performance, while providing energy to meet the worlds’ growing demand. The report details how ExxonMobil reduced greenhouse gas emissions, led the industry in worker safety and oil-spill prevention, and contributed more than eight times its earnings -- a record $402 billion -- to economies around the world through taxes and purchases of goods and services.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation’s (NYSE:XOM) financial strength and industry-leading performance continues to provide shareholders with superior value while delivering energy to fuel economic growth and protecting the environment, the corporation said at its Annual Meeting of Shareholders. “Despite the volatile economic times, ExxonMobil remains committed to investing in integrated solutions to the energy challenge,” said Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer. “Our disciplined and consistent performance enables us to invest through the economic cycle and develop new energy supplies while working to improve efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Tillerson said the company’s record performance in 2008 has benefited millions of shareholders who hold ExxonMobil shares either directly or indirectly through their pension, insurance and mutual funds. Over the past five years, the corporation’s dividends and share-buyback programs have put approximately $150 billion into the hands of millions of shareholders. Tillerson outlined some of the major achievements for 2008, including: Start-ups at eight major oil and gas production projects, which at their peak are expected to add the net equivalent of 260,000 barrels per day to the company's production; Replacement of more than 100 percent of the company’s production through proved reserves additions for the 15th consecutive year; Continued growth of exploration acreage, which has increased by about 40 percent since 2003; Generation of a return on average capital employed of 34 percent, significantly higher than the closest competitor. During his remarks to shareholders Tillerson outlined the challenge of meeting growing energy demand while reducing greenhouse emissions. “No single energy source available today solves the dual challenge of meeting growing energy needs while reducing emissions and no single energy source will solve it tomorrow,” Tillerson said. “For now and the foreseeable future, an integrated set of solutions is required — ranging from producing hydrocarbons more effectively, to using them more efficiently, to improving existing alternatives and developing policies that encourage long-term planning and investments.” "ExxonMobil is strong, resilient, and well positioned for the future, with plans to invest between $125 and $150 billion in new energy projects over the next five years alone," said Tillerson. “Our commitment to developing advanced technology, our industry-leading operational and project-management capabilities and exceptional employees continue to position the company as the world leader in the petroleum industry and a partner of choice for resource owners around the world.” Between 2008 and 2015, to offset normal field declines and depletion, ExxonMobil expects to add approximately 1.5 million oil-equivalent barrels per day of new capacity through new projects - equivalent to almost 40 percent of current production. In all, ExxonMobil’s industry-leading portfolio of more than 100 projects is expected to support development of more than 24 billion oil-equivalent barrels of energy.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) announced that shareholders elected Kenneth C. Frazier to its board of directors. Mr. Frazier is currently Executive Vice President and President, Global Human Health, at Merck & Co., Inc. With Mr. Frazier’s election, the ExxonMobil board stands at ten directors, nine of whom are non-employee directors. Mr. Frazier will serve on the Board Affairs and Public Issues and Contributions Committees. Mr. Frazier was appointed to his current position in 2007. In this role, he leads marketing and sales functions for Merck's pharmaceutical and vaccine businesses worldwide.

- In a combative and sometimes colorful annual meeting, Chevron's CEO and chairman exchanged barbs with activists over pollution in the Amazon rain forest and the company's human rights record, twice scolding speakers who addressed executives. Chief executive David O'Reilly told one group that its report on Chevron's policies "deserves the trash can." The nation's second-largest oil company is awaiting a verdict from a judge in Ecuador that could come with a $27 billion price tag, though any such decision would certainly draw an appeal. Hundreds of protesters rallied outside, at one point blocking the entrance. Confrontations outside and inside the company headquarters did not change the outcome of three key shareholder proposals, though they did garner more support than they've received in the past. At the core of the protests was the suit in Ecuador. It claims that Texaco, which Chevron bought in 2001, poisoned large swaths of the rain forest by dumping billions of gallons of oil waste, causing cancers and birth defects. Chevron says Texaco spent $40 million on environmental cleanup there and had been cleared of liability by the Ecuadorean government in power at the time. Chevron said the state oil company PetroEcuador continued to pollute the region after Texaco had left. A proposal seeking a more detailed human rights policy from Chevron got 28 percent of the vote. A separate proposal for a report on Chevron's criteria for investing or operating in countries with questionable human rights records took 26 percent of the vote. Another measure focused on how Chevron assesses the environmental laws in other countries got less than 7 percent. Similar proposals in the past have never received more than 10 percent of the vote. When one speaker took the microphone to talk about a report by environmental organizations titled "The True Cost of Chevron," O'Reilly called it "insulting to our employees and I think it deserves the trash can." The report cites Chevron for the destruction of communities, environmental damage and political oppression. Chevron's overall finances have taken a hit in recent months as the price of oil and natural gas plunged. Chevron's net income in the first quarter fell 64 percent to $1.84 billion, while sales fell 45 percent to $36.1 billion. Like many other major corporations, a say-on-pay proposal was also brought up for a vote. The nonbinding advisory proposal was rejected with 42 percent of the vote. A proposal seeking more clarity on Chevron's plans to help curb climate change and lower its own greenhouse gases was withdrawn at the last minute. The burning of fossil fuels is cited by researchers as a reason for climate change. Patricia Daly at Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, N.J., a faith-based institutional investor that supported the measure, called greenhouse gases the "profound moral challenge for the day." The group withdrew its proposal after meeting with Chevron's management, Daly said. "There was enough in the works so that we, in good faith, had to withdraw our resolution," she said. "In the end, this is really good, good business for the company." Hundreds of miles away in Dallas, Exxon Mobil's annual shareholder's meeting was much less acrimonious. Executives were also questioned about environmental issues and executive pay, but shareholders ultimately stood by management and voted down all 11 resolutions presented there.

- The incoming chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell announced a major shake-up, including new managers, a reorganization of businesses and job cuts. Peter Voser, who takes the CEO job July 1, said the changes would "increase accountability in the company and improve Shell's performance on delivering new projects." The moves are similar to simplification pushes undertaken earlier by Shell's main European rival, BP, and by the world's largest oil company, Exxon Mobil Corp.

June

• Upstream news:

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) announced the Turkish government approved an agreement between its affiliate ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Turkey B.V. and the Turkish national oil company Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklýðý (TPAO) to explore two deepwater blocks in the Black Sea. ExxonMobil and TPAO signed the agreement in November 2008 to jointly explore deepwater prospects in the Samsun Block, which measures approximately 2 million acres (8,500 square kilometers) and the eastern portion of 3921 Block, which measures approximately 5 million acres (21,000 square kilometers). Water depths reach an approximate 6,500 feet (2,000 meters). ExxonMobil will be the operator and will earn a 50% interest in both offshore blocks. TPAO and ExxonMobil intend to collaborate and utilize the skills and operational abilities of both companies during all phases of the block evaluation and potential development.

- The 50th anniversary of the development of the Groningen field, Europe’s largest natural gas field and one of the greatest energy discoveries in history, provides valuable lessons in teamwork, technology and long-term thinking required to meet the current energy challenge, Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), said. Tillerson said new ideas will be required to meet the dual energy challenge facing the world today – how to meet increasing energy demand required for economic growth and improved living standards while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Tillerson said explorers were disappointed when they discovered natural gas, and not oil, at Groningen in the late 1950s. Others thought the field shouldn’t be developed because of the dominance of coal as a fuel source and the potential for nuclear energy development. However, the government of the Netherlands put in place stable policies that encouraged investment and innovation while supporting open markets and free trade that enabled the development of the massive resource at Groningen. The Groningen field, which exceeded 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, was discovered in May 1959 with the Slochteren-1 well, drilled by a 50-50 joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil, known as Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij or NAM. Today NAM produces approximately 75 percent of the Netherlands’ gas production, of which 75 percent is from the Groningen field.

- ExxonMobil Production Company announced the completion of new field processing capacity at its Piceance Project on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains in Rio Blanco County, Colorado. The new facilities have the capacity to handle up to 200 million cubic feet per day of natural gas. They include gas and liquid gathering systems, treating facilities, a produced-water pipeline and subsurface disposal system, and a condensate sales and truck-loading site. ExxonMobil has been producing natural gas in the Piceance Basin for nearly 50 years and is currently producing about 100 million cubic feet per day. The company currently is operating seven drilling rigs to increase its Piceance production.

• Downstream news:

- ExxonMobil Chemical has introduced three new grades of Vistamaxx™ specialty elastomers that exhibit a very low gel count, making them ideal for high performance film and fiber applications. Like all Vistamaxx specialty elastomers, these grades can be blended with polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), or used as interfacing layers with PE and PP structures, to deliver excellent tie layer and lamination performance. Offering very low seal initiation temperatures combined with high seal strength, they are ideal for use as a sealing layer in coextruded structures.

- Mobil Pipe Line Company, an affiliate of ExxonMobil Pipeline Company, has completed a project that will increase capacity by 50 percent, or about 30,000 barrels per day, of its 858-mile Pegasus Pipeline that operates from Patoka, Illinois to Nederland, Texas. The expansion project includes the reactivation and enhancement of several pump stations along the pipeline. The additional capacity will enable the transportation of additional Canadian crude from the Midwest to Gulf Coast refineries. Operational enhancements, such as new leak detection technology, were also incorporated to support ExxonMobil Pipeline Company’s primary focus on operating its pipelines in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

- ExxonMobil Chemical will demonstrate its technology leadership and commitment to the global rubber industry at its booth (number 12-112) at the International Rubber Conference (IRC) 2009 in Nürnberg, Germany from June 29–July 2, 2009. Its broad portfolio of polymer solutions, including butyl polymers, specialty elastomers and polymer modifiers (PM) will be highlighted.

- ExxonMobil took another important step in meeting the world’s growing energy needs by announcing the sponsorship of an all-electric car-sharing and rental program, called AltCar, at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, MD. The new electric vehicles at the science center, called the Maya-300, are powered exclusively by enhanced lithium ion battery technology. They are one of the first fleets of all-electric vehicles using this technology in a consumer car-sharing and rental program in North America. ExxonMobil’s battery separator film enables the use of Electrovaya’s Lithium Ion SuperPolymer® battery in the vehicle.

- In a surprising about-face, Exxon Mobil said that it would work with a Canadian pipeline operator, TransCanada, to build an ambitious natural gas pipeline from Alaska, the latest twist in long and protracted efforts to bring Alaska’s vast gas supplies to the United States mainland. The participation of Exxon, which holds the largest natural gas reserves on Alaska’s North Slope, lends credibility to a plan by TransCanada that last year won Alaska’s competition to build a 1,700-mile pipeline. It also deals a blow to a rival project from BP and ConocoPhillips and introduces more uncertainty into one of Alaska’s biggest political and economic debates. The competition to build a gas pipeline was set up by Gov. Sarah Palin, who had been critical of the slow pace at which oil companies, including Exxon, were moving. Financial details of Exxon’s participation were sketchy on Thursday, but TransCanada said it would retain the majority interest in the project. Both companies essentially invited BP and Conoco to abandon their rival effort, saying they would be welcome to join the TransCanada plan. Rumors of Exxon’s entry to the project had been swirling for several days in Alaska. With production from the Prudhoe Bay oil field declining, Alaskans have been hoping for years that natural gas would take over as the state’s financial mainstay. Alaska’s estimated 35 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves are now being reinjected into oil fields or left in the ground because there is no way to get the fuel to consumers. With Exxon and TransCanada on one side, and BP and Conoco on the other, there are two contenders for what would be the biggest civil engineering project in North America, and one of the most challenging. It would dwarf the 800-mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline, a momentous project that was completed in 1977. BP and Conoco said their joint pipeline project, called Denali, was going forward. But both said they would be open to alternative plans. TransCanada has estimated that the project would cost $30 billion. It would stretch roughly 1,700 miles from the North Slope of Alaska through Yukon and northeastern British Columbia to the Alberta border near Boundary Lake. From there, it would connect to Alberta’s existing gas infrastructure, which is linked to the United States. The pipe would have a daily capacity of six billion cubic feet of natural gas, or about 10 percent of current domestic consumption. It would begin operations in 2018. Building an Alaska gas pipeline has been sought for decades as a crucial element of the nation’s energy security. But new drilling methods in places like Texas and Oklahoma have unlocked substantially more domestic gas reserves in recent years than most experts ever anticipated. Instead of a facing a potential gas shortage, the nation is looking at the possibility of a surplus. When Governor Palin took office in late 2006, she interrupted the negotiations that her predecessor, Frank H. Murkowski, had been pursuing with the North Slope oil operators, BP, Conoco and Exxon Mobil, to build a pipeline. After saying the talks were too secretive and not competitive, the governor sought to bring in new operators to secure better terms for Alaska. Late last year, Alaska picked TransCanada as its preferred operator after a competition that was shunned by the major companies, including Exxon. Tony Palmer, vice president of Alaska development for TransCanada, said the project would make economic sense as worldwide gas supplies tighten and prices rise, and he welcomed Exxon’s decision to participate.

- ExxonMobil Chemical is investing in increased polypropylene (PP) compounding capacity and capability at its Lillebonne Polypropylene Plant (LPP), France. Capacity will increase by 45,000 tons to meet growing demand for Exxtral™ performance polyolefins from automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) primarily in Europe. The expansion is due for completion by year end 2009. The LPP facility currently manufactures neat, filled and compounded PP such as the new generation compound Exxtral BMU141 that was recently specified for the instrument panel of the new Citroën Berlingo and Peugeot Partner. Exxtral polyolefins were also specified for the door panel, and upper and lower trim of these vehicles. Exxtral polyolefins have been used primarily for interior and under the hood automotive applications but are increasingly being specified for exterior applications, such as bumper fasciae which also are driving demand.

• Business/Finance news:

- Twenty New Orleans-area middle school math teachers were honored by Louisiana First Lady Supriya Jindal for completing the initial phase of an extensive training program at the Math and Science Teacher Institute through Xavier University of Louisiana – part of a $10 million commitment from the ExxonMobil Foundation to help restore and enhance math and science education in New Orleans. Through the ExxonMobil grant, the institute provides training and support to local math and science teachers to help them build content knowledge, integrate effective instructional methods and enhance classroom strategies. It was created in partnership with Xavier University, which has developed and hosted the training.

- 75 interns and agencies officially kicked-off the 19th annual ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program (CSJP). The eight-week paid internship program, now in its 38th year nationally, offers nonprofits much-needed help during the busy summer months and encourages college students to pursue careers in the nonprofit sector and to be active members of their communities. ExxonMobil provides more than $267,000 to cover intern salaries and program administration expenses.

- 65 interns and non-profit agencies, together with Houston’s First Lady, Angela White, officially kicked-off the annual ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program. The eight-week paid internship program, now in its 38th year nationally, offers nonprofit organizations much-needed help during the busy summer months and encourages college students to be active members of their communities. ExxonMobil provided grants totaling $211,250 for intern salaries and Volunteer Houston expenses associated with the program.

- Three local Hispanic high school seniors have been honored for their achievements in engineering and mathematics by ExxonMobil and the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Vital Voices Global Partnership joined with local businesswomen’s organizations throughout Africa to announce the launch of the Africa Businesswomen’s Network (ABWN) at the World Economic Forum on Africa. The ABWN aims to build and support a network of businesswomen’s organizations in Africa to expand the number of women succeeding as entrepreneurs and leaders in the corporate world; to raise the profile and credibility of women in business; to foster global networking opportunities among businesswomen; and to advocate for policies that expand economic opportunity for women. Network Hubs are now underway in Sub-Saharan African countries including Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.

- Luke Cole, a leading theorist and practitioner of environmental justice law, who battled toxic waste facilities, mega-dairies, mining companies and other pollution threats in poor and minority communities in California and Alaska, died in a car crash in Uganda. He was 46. Cole was traveling with his wife on a rural road in western Uganda when a truck hit their vehicle head-on. He died at a clinic a short time later, according to his father, Herbert Cole. His wife, Nancy Shelby, was flown to a hospital in Amsterdam, where she is recovering from her injuries. A man of many passions, Cole was the executive director of the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, a San Francisco-based nonprofit he founded in 1989 to address environmental racism, in which low-income and minority communities are alleged to suffer a disproportionate share of pollution problems. Cole first demonstrated his innovative approach in 1990, when he helped the poor, Latino residents of Kettleman City in the San Joaquin Valley defeat a proposed toxic waste incinerator project by pointing out that the environmental impact report had not been translated into Spanish, the primary language of almost half of the town's residents. In the late 1990s he applied civil rights law to a case in South Camden, N.J., where an impoverished black community opposed the construction of a cement recycling plant. The proposed plant met technical requirements, but Cole, citing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, argued that it would worsen the quality of life in a minority community that was already suffering from high levels of exposure to dangerous pollutants. In Kivalina, Alaska, he recently settled a case against a major zinc producer whose mining operations he said were fouling the water supply of a 4,000-year-old Inupiat Eskimo village. He was continuing to represent the Inupiat people in a new lawsuit alleging that Exxon, Chevron and other oil companies were contributing to global warming, which some experts say is causing Kivalina to erode

- The ExxonMobil Green Team celebrated the start of its 28th year in Dallas by creating a learning area around a large pecan tree within the Great Trinity Forest for summer camps and classes taught by the Trinity River Audubon Center. As one of ExxonMobil’s signature community programs, the Green Team concept provides meaningful work experience and educational opportunities for Dallas-area high school students from low- to moderate-income families.

- ExxonMobil has awarded a $300,000 grant to the Atlanta-based SECME - a non-profit alliance of universities, school districts, industrial and governmental organizations - to help promote education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for young minority students.

- ExxonMobil, in partnership with Malaria No More and Project Rwanda, announced the Bikes for Rukara project in Rwanda. The program will provide bicycles to community health workers at the Rukara Health Facility, a faith-based operation in partnership with the government of Rwanda, to help reach more families with their life-saving malaria prevention programs. Bikes for Rukara is part of ExxonMobil’s commitment to supporting organizations working to combat malaria. ExxonMobil’s Medical Director for Global Health Issues, Dr. Steven Phillips, is in Rwanda as part of a United Nations delegation to examine the role of faith-based institutions in helping to control malaria and was at the launch of the bicycle project.

July

• Upstream news:

- ExxonMobil Exploration Company announced that its affiliate, ExxonMobil Libya Limited, has started drilling the first deepwater exploration well in Libya. The A1-20/3 well is being drilled in Contract Area 20 (CA 20) located offshore in the Sirte Basin, northeast of the city of Misrata, in the Libyan Mediterranean Sea. The rig, contracted from Noble Africa Limited and named the Noble Homer Ferrington, is capable of operating in water depths up to 7,200 feet (2,195 meters), and can drill to a depth of 30,000 feet (9,144 meters). It is designed for high efficiency and safety, and is able to operate in many global deepwater environments.

• Downstream news:

- Penske Racing driver Sam Hornish Jr. will drive a special No. 77 Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 11 to help make consumers aware of the best ways to conserve fuel during the busy summer driving season. The No. 77 Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy Dodge is designed in part to show ExxonMobil’s continued support for the Alliance to Save Energy and its Drive $marter Challenge, which has the goal of increasing fuel efficiency nationwide.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) announced an alliance with leading biotech company, Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI), to research and develop next generation biofuels from photosynthetic algae. ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company has entered into a research and development alliance with SGI, a privately held company focused on developing genomic-driven solutions and founded by genome pioneer, Dr. J. Craig Venter, to develop advanced biofuels from photosynthetic algae that are compatible with today’s gasoline and diesel fuels. Under the program, if research and development milestones are successfully met, ExxonMobil expects to spend more than $600 million, which includes $300 million in internal costs and potentially more than $300 million to SGI.

- Mobil 1, the world’s leading synthetic motor oil, is offering motorsports fans a chance to have 30 seconds of fame. The “Show Your Mobil 1” challenge invites racing fans to show the world how they feel about Mobil 1 and NASCAR by creating a commercial expressing the strong connection between NASCAR and the official motor oil of the motorsport. The winner gets to see his or her commercial on national television during a NASCAR event, and finalists speed away with hefty prizes as well. Anyone with a video camera and a bit of creativity is encouraged to enter and take a shot at seeing their idea on television. There’s plenty to compete for – the grand-prize winner will be awarded a viewing party to celebrate the airing of the commercial, as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to a 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

• Business/Finance news:

- Instead of video games and skateboards this summer, middle school students from three D.C.-area universities — Bowie State, Howard University, and University of Virginia — created their own mind-bending fun at a special event held during a two-week summer science camp adventure on the campus of Howard University. With topics of discovery such as a mission to Mars, robotics, energy and the environment, the free camps are designed to spur the imagination of today’s students and encourage them to pursue careers in math and science.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation and the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) announced that the corporation has donated $5 million to strengthen and grow CSIS' new Global Health Policy Center, and provide space in its new building to house its Global Health Program.

- The oil giant Exxon Mobil, whose chief executive once mocked alternative energy by referring to ethanol as “moonshine,” is about to venture into biofuels. Exxon plans to announce an investment of $600 million in producing liquid transportation fuels from algae — organisms in water that range from pond scum to seaweed, The New York Times’s Jad Mouawad reported. The biofuel effort involves a partnership with Synthetic Genomics, a biotechnology company founded by the genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter. The agreement could plug a major gap in the strategy of Exxon, the world’s largest and richest publicly traded oil company, which has been criticized by environmental groups for dismissing concerns about global warming in the past and its reluctance to develop renewable fuels. Despite the widely publicized “moonshine” remark a few years ago by Exxon’s chairman and chief executive, Rex W. Tillerson, the company has spent several years exploring various fuel alternatives, according to one of its top research officials. Exxon’s sincerity and commitment will almost certainly be questioned by its most galvanized environmentalist critics, especially when compared with the company’s extraordinary profits from petroleum in recent years. But if it proves a bona fide effort, Exxon’s move into biofuels, long the preserve of venture capital firms and biotech start-ups, could provide a big push to the Obama administration’s policy of encouraging more renewable energy. Currently, about 9 percent of the nation’s liquid fuel supply comes from biofuels — most of it corn-based ethanol. And by 2022, Congress has mandated that biofuel levels reach 36 billion gallons. But developing biofuels has been tricky, and Mr. Tillerson has not been alone in his skepticism. Many environmental groups and energy experts have been critical of corn-derived ethanol, because of its lower energy content and questionable environmental record. According to Exxon, algae could yield more than 2,000 gallons of fuel per acre of production each year, compared with 650 gallons for palm trees and 450 gallons for sugar canes. Corn yields just 250 gallons per acre a year. Exxon’s partnership with Synthetic Genomics is also a vote of confidence in the work of Dr. Venter, a maverick scientist best known for decoding the human genome in the 1990s. In recent years, he has focused his attention on a search for micro-organisms that could be turned into fuel. Algal biofuel, sometimes nicknamed oilgae by environmentalists, is a promising technology. Fuels derived from algae have molecular structures that are similar to petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, and would be compatible with the existing transportation infrastructure, according to Exxon. Continental Airlines, for example, has demonstrated the fuel’s viability in a test flight of an airplane powered in part by algae-based fuel. The Pentagon has also been looking at alternative fuels, including algae, to reduce the military’s dependence on oil. And while cost-effective mass production of algae has eluded researchers so far, it holds potential advantages over other sources of biofuels. Algae can be grown in areas not suited for food crops, using pools of brackish water or even farming them in seawater. Algae also has another benefit, which could eventually help cut greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Like any plant, it needs carbon dioxide to grow. But Exxon and Synthetic Genomics hope to genetically engineer new strains of algae that can absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide — like that emitted by power plants, for example. Exxon’s investment includes $300 million for in-house studies and “potentially more” than $300 million to Synthetic Genomics “if research and development milestones are successfully met,” Exxon said.

- Is Big Oil warming at last to the notion of an alternative-energy future? So say some analysts who are pondering Exxon Mobil Corp.'s recent moves. Breaking from years of steadfast commitment to fossil fuels, the behemoth has announced big investments in electric cars, unconventional natural gas and algae-based biofuels (Greenwire, July 14). The Exxon announcements have come rapidly this summer after years of rejecting pleas from environmentalists, legislators and shareholders to invest in alternative-energy technologies and commit to addressing climate change. Just six months ago, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson said his company was not investing in alternative-energy efforts because "we think these technologies are old. If there is going to be a fundamental shift" from fossil fuels, he said, the technology "hasn't been discovered" (Greenwire, Feb. 17). But in recent weeks, Exxon has tossed about $500,000 into an electric car-sharing program in Baltimore and participated in development of unconventional natural gas plays in Canada. It announced a $600 million partnership to develop next-generation biofuels from algae. Analysts and experts are buzzing about a larger impact on major energy companies. Certainly, alternative-energy advocates are thrilled, seeing Exxon's investment in algae biofuels spurring additional investments and faster movement toward such fuels' commercialization. To be sure, Exxon Mobil is not the first oil company to invest in algae-based biofuels, but its investment is significant because of the size and the company's historical opposition to biofuels like ethanol. Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Chevron Corp. and BP have all recently announced algae biofuels partnerships or research ventures. And Dow Chemical Co. last month launched a pilot project with Algenol to produce ethanol from algae (Greenwire, June 29). In fact, climate legislation is likely a key driver in oil companies' decisions to invest in alternative-energy technologies. Fluctuating crude oil prices are likely another key driver, he added. To be clear, Exxon Mobil is not turning into an alternative-energy company. Its algae biofuels investment, for example, represents a little more than 1 percent of its 2008 net income and a little more than 2 percent of its 2008 capital expenditures. But experts say the investment is significant nonetheless. UT's Webber said Exxon's $600 million investment is an order of magnitude larger than the amount spent by the federal government on algae biofuels in the past decade. And Webber said Exxon is in the biofuels game to make a difference. "This is not a [public relations] stunt, because Exxon generally doesn't care about PR -- and I mean that in a loving way," he said. "For Exxon to get involved, I think they're serious. Primarily because of the amount of money, I think they're serious." "Real money" is what algae biofuels needs, its leaders say. There are scientific and economic hurdles to scaling up algae biofuels production. Among them are determining the best organisms to use, figuring out how to grow them and discovering the best technology to separate oil from algae. Exxon Mobil's technical expertise will also likely make it an asset for the sector, Webber said.

- ExxonMobil will release its second quarter 2009 earnings on Thursday, July 30, 2009. The news release will be issued over Business Wire.

- The Board of Directors of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) declared a cash dividend of 42 cents per share on the Common Stock, payable on September 10, 2009 to shareholders of record of Common Stock at the close of business on August 13, 2009. This third quarter dividend is at the same level as the dividend paid in the second quarter of 2009.

- On Tuesday, July 28, Fine Arts Chamber Players and Tulane University student Tobin Fulton were honored during an awards ceremony and dinner to mark the conclusion of the 19th year of the ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program. Along with receiving their awards for Agency of the Year and Intern of the Year, Fine Arts Chamber Players and Fulton each received a check for $1,000 honoring their accomplishments.

- EXXONMOBIL'S CHAIRMAN REX W. TILLERSON COMMENTED: Global economic conditions continue to impact the energy industry both in the volatility of commodity prices and reduced demand for products. In spite of these challenges, ExxonMobil achieved solid results. We continued our capital investment program at near record levels while returning over $16 billion to our shareholders during the first half of the year. ExxonMobil’s second quarter 2009 earnings excluding special items were $4.1 billion, down 66% from the second quarter of 2008. Earnings per share excluding special items were down 63% reflecting lower earnings and the benefit of the share purchase program. Earnings for the second quarter of 2009 were $4.0 billion, down 66% from last year, and included a special charge of $140 million for interest related to the Valdez punitive damages award. Second quarter 2008 earnings included a charge of $290 million related to the Valdez punitive damages award. First half earnings excluding special items decreased 62% compared to the first half of 2008 reflecting lower crude oil and natural gas realizations. Earnings for the first half of 2009 were also down 62% versus 2008. ExxonMobil continued its robust capital investment program. For the first half of 2009, spending on capital and exploration projects was $12.3 billion, in line with our longer term plan. The Corporation distributed a total of $7.0 billion to shareholders in the second quarter, through dividends and share purchases to reduce shares outstanding.

- Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell, the world's two biggest oil firms, reported sharply lower second-quarter profit, hurt by crude oil prices that are running at a little less than half of last year's record-shattering levels. Exxon's profit slid to $3.95 billion, or 81 cents a share, down 66% from the second quarter of 2008 as the weak global economy hurt earnings across the company's refining and marketing, production and chemical businesses. The oil giant said its capital spending was modestly slower than the $29-billion annual pace it had forecast earlier, attributing that to the financial limitations of its partners, the benefit of a stronger U.S. dollar earlier in the year and lower exploration costs. Shell exceeded analysts' low expectations for the second quarter, reporting a profit of $3.8 billion, a 67% drop from a year earlier. It said it received an average of $52.19 for every barrel it produced, down from $110.96 a barrel in the second quarter last year. In addition to industry-wide trends, Shell's performance was affected by unrest in Nigeria, where attacks by insurgents in the Niger Delta cut the company's average daily production almost in half, to 120,000 barrels from 210,000 barrels. The Exxon and Shell results capped a week of lower earnings for the major oil companies: BP and ConocoPhillips also lacked the fat profit of last year. Profit at BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, fell 53%. At Conoco, the third- biggest U.S. oil firm, earnings plunged 76%. Exxon said it lost $15 million during the second quarter on its downstream businesses in the United States, which includes refining and marketing of petroleum products. Exxon Mobil shares fell about 1%, to $70.72. Shares of Royal Dutch Shell fell 9 cents, to $52.60, in New York Stock Exchange trading. Shell said it was slashing overhead. In the 30 days since taking over as chief executive, Voser has cut senior management posts by 20%, the company said. It also indicated that it would trim capital spending about 10% in 2010, but analysts at Collins Stewart, a financial advising firm, said "most of this fall should come from cost deflation rather than reduced activity." Both Exxon, based in Irving, Texas, and Shell, with headquarters in The Hague, are struggling to maintain or increase oil and natural-gas production in the face of natural declines in old fields. Exxon's oil and gas output fell 3.3%, to the equivalent of 3.68 million barrels a day, though it said part of that was a result of mild weather and low natural-gas use in Europe. Shell's output fell 5.3%, to 2.96 million barrels a day. Both companies said they remained committed to big projects aimed at boosting their output over the next few years.

- Exxon Mobil’s stellar earnings growth in recent years had hardly disappointed its investors. But now, the company whose profit for last year was the largest in corporate history is slipping in its performance. Exxon Mobil said that its second-quarter profit tumbled 66 percent, a sign the company was not immune to lower oil prices and weaker demand. The company reported that its net income fell to $3.95 billion, or 81 cents a share, from $11.68 billion, or $2.22 a share, in the period a year ago. The results were well below market estimates of $1.02 a share and the weakest for the company since the third quarter of 2003, reflecting lower oil and gas production and losses at the company’s domestic refining business. Exxon’s shares fell 1 percent, or 71 cents, on Thursday to close at $70.72. Long accustomed to outshining its peers, Exxon’s weaker performance reflects the severity of the economic downturn throughout the energy industry. Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s biggest oil company, said on that its second-quarter profits also tumbled by 67 percent, while BP and ConocoPhillips also reported big drops in profits earlier in the week. It is the third consecutive quarterly fall in earnings at Exxon. Last year was the company’s most profitable ever, with full-year earnings of $45.22 billion thanks in large part to record high prices. The global recession is expected to reduce oil consumption worldwide for a second year, the first time that has happened since the early 1980s, hurting the demand for gasoline or jet fuel. Oil companies, which are struggling to adapt to a new environment of lower prices and weaker demand, have responded by slashing costs, paring drilling activities and shutting some operations. Exxon’s combined oil and gas production fell 3 percent in the quarter, because of restrictions imposed by OPEC producers and lower output from mature fields. Exxon’s oil production in the quarter averaged 2.35 million barrels a day and gas production was about 8.01 billion cubic feet a day. The company said it increased its output from new projects in Qatar and in the United States. Output has dropped at most oil companies in recent years, as big projects have been delayed and OPEC nations have restricted production to help prop up prices. But given the company’s size, some analysts are concerned that Exxon will have trouble meeting its self-imposed target to increase production by 2 percent this year. The company’s lower output in the past quarter might limit this year’s overall growth, according to Macquarie Securities analysts. Exxon is about to start up the latest phase of its huge liquefied natural gas project in Qatar, and so far this year has begun production at four of its nine major projects planned for the year. Profit at the company’s production and exploration unit fell to $3.81 billion in the second quarter, down $6.2 billion compared with a year earlier. In its refining business, Exxon’s profit dropped to $512 million, down $1.05 billion from a year ago. That included a loss of $15 million at Exxon’s domestic refining business. Despite the lower profit, Exxon continued its program to reward shareholders by buying back shares and paying dividends. The company spent $5.2 billion in the second quarter to buy back 75 million shares. Its capital spending program, one of the largest in the industry, fell by 6 percent, to $6.6 billion in the past quarter, but it still on track to reach about $29 billion this year. Exxon’s report caps a week of lower earnings across the energy industry after oil prices tumbled from last year’s record levels and the global economy slowed down. Oil prices, which had reached a record closing price of $145.29 a barrel last July, recently traded around $63 a barrel. Also, Royal Dutch Shell reported that its net profit fell 67 percent in the second quarter, to $3.82 billion, from $11.6 billion in the period a year ago. Shell said that it planned to reduce capital spending by more than 10 percent next year to about $28 billion and that it would cut jobs. Earnings at Shell’s exploration and production unit dropped 77 percent, to $1.33 billion, from $5.9 billion a year ago, mostly on lower oil prices. Production declined 6 percent, to 2.9 million barrels of oil and equivalents a day, while prices were $52.62 a barrel, down from $111.92 in the period a year ago. ConocoPhillips, the third-largest American oil company after Exxon and Chevron, said that its quarterly profits tumbled 76 percent, to $1.3 billion, after a loss in its refining business. The British oil giant BP said earlier this week that its profit declined 53 percent, to $4.39 billion. The company said it would reduce its costs by $3 billion this year, $1 billion more than it had initially planned. The company’s chief executive, Tony Hayward, also signaled that he expected oil prices to hover in a range of $60 to $90 a barrel.

August

• Upstream news:

• Downstream news:

- ExxonMobil announced that Mobil 1, the world’s leading fully synthetic motor oil, has been selected as the factory- and service-fill endorsed motor oil for the new 2010 Chevy Camaro SS, one of the most highly anticipated sports cars in recent years. The new 2010 Chevy Camaro SS is equipped with the high-performance Corvette-inspired LS3 engine, which is a 6.2 liter, V-8 engine that can deliver up to 426 horsepower enabling the Camaro to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds. It is available in either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission and gets an estimated 24 mpg on the highway. Beyond the Camaro SS edition, other new models in the Camaro series include the LS and LT.

- An Australian subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Petronet LNG Limited signed a sales and purchase agreement (SPA) for the long-term supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the proposed Gorgon LNG Project in Western Australia. The SPA is for the supply of approximately 1.5 mtpa (million tonnes per annum) of ExxonMobil's share of LNG from the Gorgon LNG Project over a 20-year term. LNG cargoes will be delivered to a new terminal under construction at Kochi in southern India. Documents formalizing the SPA were signed in Perth, Australia by ExxonMobil’s Luke Musgrave, vice president – Australia LNG, and Petronet LNG Managing Director, Prosad Dasgupta.

- ExxonMobil announced that the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo arrived at the Adriatic LNG regasification Terminal located offshore of Porto Levante, Italy aboard the LNG carrier, Dukhan. Terminale GNL Adriatico (“Adriatic LNG”) is owned by Qatar Terminal Limited (45 percent), a Qatar Petroleum subsidiary, ExxonMobil Italiana Gas (45 percent) and Edison (10 percent). The Terminal is the first offshore Gravity Based Structure in the world for unloading, storage and regasification of LNG. It utilizes ExxonMobil proprietary technology and is designed around a large concrete structure, which houses two LNG storage tanks, a regasification plant, and facilities for mooring and unloading LNG vessels. When it reaches full operational capacity later in 2009, the Adriatic LNG Terminal will be able to deliver 775 million cubic feet of natural gas per day (8 billion cubic meters per year), or approximately 10 percent of Italy’s current natural gas requirements.

- Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited (3) (Ras Laffan 3) announced the completion and start-up of Train 6 at Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar. The project is a joint venture of Qatar Petroleum (70 percent interest) and ExxonMobil Ras Laffan (III) Limited (30 percent interest) and represents an expansion of the existing LNG production facilities operated by RasGas Company Limited. Train 6 is designed to produce 7.8 million tons per year, matching the capacity of the largest LNG train in the world, also located in Qatar. These mega facilities have sufficient scale to competitively reach markets all around the globe. In addition, Ras Laffan 3 is also constructing its second 7.8 million tons per year train, known as Train 7, expected to start-up in late 2009. Both Trains 6 and 7 will be supplied natural gas from Qatar's giant North Field, which is estimated to contain in excess of 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

- Affiliates of Exxon Mobil Corporation (ExxonMobil) and PetroChina Company Limited (PetroChina) announced they had signed a sales and purchase agreement (SPA) for the long-term supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the proposed Gorgon LNG Project in Western Australia. The 20-year SPA is for the supply of approximately 2.25mtpa (million tonnes per annum) of the ExxonMobil affiliate’s share of LNG from the Gorgon LNG Project. Documents celebrating the SPA were signed at PetroChina’s headquarters in Beijing in the presence of Exxon Mobil Corporation Senior Vice President Mr. Andrew Swiger and Chairman of PetroChina, Mr. Jiang Jiemin.

• Business/Finance news:

- United States Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined the National Community Action Foundation (NCAF) and ExxonMobil to award the Ohio Green Workforce Training Partnership with the inaugural grant from the NCAF ExxonMobil Weatherization Training Partnership. The Partnership will receive $100,000 to establish a first-of-its-kind training program that will prepare workers for a career in the growing fields of weatherization and energy efficiency. The announcement took place at the home of Mrs. Twyla Simpson, a local resident receiving weatherization services.

- Exxon Mobil has agreed to pay $600,000 in penalties after approximately 85 migratory birds died of exposure to hydrocarbons at some of its natural gas facilities across the Midwest. The fine amounts to about $7,000 per dead bird. The oil company pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of waterfowl, hawks, owls and other protected species, which perished around natural gas well pits or water storage areas in Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas over the last five years. The deal was struck with the Justice Department in a federal court in Denver. Exxon had been charged with violating a 1918 federal law designed to protect migratory birds. “We are all responsible for protecting our wildlife, even the largest of corporations,” said David M. Gaouette, the United States attorney in Colorado, in a statement accompanying the Justice Department’s announcement. The penalties paid by Exxon will go toward wetlands protection, and the company has agreed to make changes to prevent similar fatalities in the future. According to the Justice Department, Exxon has stated in court filings that it has already spent $2.5 million in that effort.

- Students in 12 Alabama high schools achieved an 81 percent increase in passing scores on Advanced Placement math, science and English tests under a national education program funded by ExxonMobil. The schools located in Jefferson County and Montgomery are participating in the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Programs supported by the National Math and Science Initiative. ExxonMobil is a founding sponsor of the initiative, committing $125 million in support, the largest-ever corporate gift for U.S. math and science education.

September

• Upstream news:

- ExxonMobil Production Company announced that it has completed drilling and casing the surface section on the second well at Point Thomson. The well reached its target surface-section depth of 4,875 feet. Both wells are planned to be completed to their final depths by year end 2010. Additionally, construction work is progressing on schedule with more than 80 barge loads of equipment and material delivered to the site since mid-July. Point Thomson is a natural gas and condensate field located 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope of Alaska. It holds an estimated 8 trillion cubic feet of gas – about 25 percent of the North Slope's proven gas resource – and about 200 million barrels of condensate. Developing these resources presents a number of challenges. In order to safely access the high pressure Point Thomson reservoir, the Nabors 27E drilling rig was modified with approximately $35 million in upgrades. ExxonMobil staff and Alaskan contractors worked in 2008 through early 2009 to prepare the rig and pad for drilling.

• Downstream news:

- For motorcycle enthusiasts, few design shops generate as much excitement as Orange County Choppers. And for anyone who has ever wanted to own a two-wheeled work of art designed by OCC founder Paul Teutul Sr., Mobil 1 is providing a rare opportunity to do exactly that. Fans can go to www.mobil1.com/winamotorcycle to sign up for a chance to win a one-of-a-kind Mobil 1 bagger-style custom motorcycle designed and built by Orange County Choppers, as well as a trip to Daytona Bike Week 2010.

- Further highlighting its leadership in the field of wind turbine lubrication technology, ExxonMobil announced that its Mobilgear SHC XMP 320 has received approval for second-fill applications in Winergy gearboxes featured in GE 1.5 MW turbines. ExxonMobil’s wind turbine lubricants are helping to enable a more diverse energy portfolio for power generation. Currently used in more than 25,000 wind turbines worldwide, Mobilgear SHC XMP 320 is a high-performance synthetic gearbox oil that delivers exceptional oxidation resistance, a naturally high viscosity index and excellent low temperature fluidity, helping to extend lubricant life and equipment reliability. In addition, Mobilgear SHC XMP 320 contains a proprietary additive system designed to provide excellent protection against conventional wear modes like scuffing and micropitting. This performance attribute can help lead to less wear on critical parts and translates into valuable cost savings. By contributing to reduced unscheduled downtime, lower maintenance costs, and extended oil life, ExxonMobil's lubricants allow wind turbines to generate more energy. Mobilgear SHC XMP 320 received this approval from Winergy, a leading manufacturer of wind turbine gear units, based on the product’s performance during more than 30 rigorous industry tests that mimic up-tower conditions for turbines’ gears, bearings, seals, filters and surface coatings. This approval confirms that Winergy has recognized Mobilgear SHC XMP 320 can be used in its wind turbine gearboxes. The gearbox oil has also passed second-fill approvals to be used in Bosch-Rexroth and Moventas gearboxes used in GE 1.5 MW turbines that are under warranty.

- Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) announced the completion and start-up of Qatargas 2 Train 5, one of the largest operating liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facilities in the world. This follows the start-up of the Qatargas 2 Train 4 in the second quarter of 2009. Each is designed with the capacity to produce 7.8 million tons per year, approximately 50 percent larger than any other global liquefaction facility currently operating outside of Qatar.

- Exxon Mobil announced that the Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) project has been approved for development by the project participants. The final investment decision for Gorgon was announced by representatives from the Gorgon joint venture (ExxonMobil 25 percent interest, Shell 25 percent interest and Chevron 50 percent interest and Operator) at a ceremony in Perth attended by the Premier of Western Australia, Hon. Colin Barnett MLA and the Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Hon. Martin Ferguson MP. The decision follows recent execution of LNG sales and purchase agreements with PetroChina International Company Limited and Petronet LNG Limited of India for ExxonMobil’s equity share of LNG in the Gorgon Project.

- ExxonMobil Chemical will host Tire Symposium 2009, in Chengdu, China, October 18-20, for companies, organizations and media interested in learning about new tire innerliner technologies and opportunities for the Chinese tire industry. Sponsored exclusively by ExxonMobil Chemical, the event will feature product marketing and technology specialists describing tomorrow’s tire innerliner technologies that have the potential to significantly improve today’s tire performance. Exxcore™ DVA resin-based innerliners, for example, have the potential to reduce tire weight while being up to 10 times more effective at retaining air than conventional innerliners of the same thickness. This leading-edge inflation pressure retention (IPR) can result in tires that last longer, handle better and contribute to improved fuel economy and reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

- At a media luncheon in Nashville, kicking off the 20th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, the team behind Mobil Delvac heavy duty diesel engine oil announced its sponsorship of award-winning Nashville-based bluegrass band The Grascals. Following the luncheon, the team unveiled the Mobil Delvac and The Grascals-branded tour bus the band will call home for the next 12 months.

• Business/Finance news:

- Exxon Mobil Corporation announced it has increased its investment in math and science education through a partnership with Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel in space. The Sally Ride Science Academy brought to you by ExxonMobil will encourage student interest in math and science education though curriculum augmentation, programs to make math and science more relevant, constructive feedback skills training and tools to promote careers in math and science. In addition, the Academy will provide gender equity training to help educators foster an encouraging and collaborative learning environment.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), in partnership with Ashoka’s Changemakers and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), introduced an initiative to help women in developing countries fulfill their economic potential through technology and innovation. The program, called Technologies to Improve Women’s Economic Livelihoods, will help identify and deploy technologies and innovations that can improve quality of life and enable women to participate more fully in income-generating activities. The program is part of ExxonMobil’s Women’s Economic Opportunity Initiative (previously Educating Women and Girls Initiative), which was launched in 2005 and has invested more than $20 million in programs that have involved women from 64 developing countries.

- The Institute of International Education, a major provider of scholarship and education initiatives throughout the world, has named Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) as the winner of its 2009 Opening Minds Corporate Leadership Award. The award recognizes ExxonMobil’s outstanding global philanthropy, including initiatives that improve the teaching and learning of engineering, technology, math and science, and the company’s support for organizations that seek to improve career opportunities for minorities and women.

- Teachers and families will be the focus at the ExxonMobil Science Day at the Dallas Zoo, scheduled for Saturday, September 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The festival-style event will feature 14 science booths featuring hands-on activities for children of all ages, preschool to junior high, that are aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards. In addition to the activities for families, for a $10 registration fee teachers and home school parents can receive four hours of Continuing Education Units (CEUs), TEEAC credit, and a curriculum CD-ROM filled with the day’s activities and classroom extensions.

- The Women’s Museum and ExxonMobil are teaming up to present ExxonMobil Science Day, Wednesday, September 30, 2009, a program created to encourage and motivate Dallas-area girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics related fields. Female students from Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, Anson Jones Elementary School and Fellowship Christian Academy will have the opportunity to hear from a female geophysicist and enjoy an interactive science show. Guest speaker Maria C. Guedez, a native of Venezuela, will offer insight into her amazing journey from studies in Caracas, a master’s degree in earth science at Rice University to ultimately a career at ExxonMobil Exploration Company.

October

• Upstream news:

- The energy giant Exxon Mobil has agreed to pay about $4 billion for a minority stake in a oil field off the coast of Ghana, a region that has emerged as a major new petroleum province, a person with knowledge of the matter said, The New York Times’s Jad Mouawad and Zachery Kouwe report. Exxon’s acquisition of 23.49 percent of the Jubilee oil field underscored the interest that energy companies have shown in the 700 miles of Western African coastline that stretches from Sierra Leone to Ghana. Last month, the Italian oil giant Eni agreed to buy two fields off Ghana from the Vitol Group, a major oil-trading firm. The Jubilee stake, which was owned by Kosmos Energy, a company based in Dallas and backed by major private equity firms, had attracted several companies and had started a bidding war between international and state-owned players, including Chinese companies. But in a letter sent to the other bidders, Kosmos said it had “entered into a binding agreement with an exclusive bidder,” said the person, who declined to be identified because the negotiations were private. Because of higher oil prices since the beginning of the decade, companies have increased their spending on exploration. While major companies like Exxon have focused on developing large oil and gas projects, much of the riskier and more prospective exploration has been undertaken by smaller, independent producers like Anadarko Petroleum, Tullow Oil and Kosmos. Last month, for example, Anadarko announced that it had made a major discovery after drilling the first deepwater well off the coast of Sierra Leone. The company, along with Tullow Oil, owns the rest of the Jubilee field. Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Company, said that Exxon was paying a steep price for the reserves at a time when oil companies were struggling to gain access to resources in traditional regions, like Russia or Venezuela. Exxon needs to find 1.5 billion barrels of reserves each year to replace the oil and gas it pumps annually. A representative from Kosmos did not return calls or respond to e-mail messages seeking comment. Exxon also declined to comment about its bid. Kosmos, along with Anadarko and Tullow, have been particularly successful in Ghana where they have found oil in all of the eight wells they drilled in recent years. The partners have found four major fields — Jubilee, Odum, Tweneboa and Mahogany — and have identified four more potential prospects. Jubilee, which was discovered in 2007, should start producing oil by the end of next year, and is expected to eventually pump about 120,000 barrels a day. Kosmos has estimated that Jubilee could hold recoverable oil and gas reserves of as much as two billion barrels. That puts the field in the same class of discoveries that have been recorded in the Gulf of Mexico in recent years. The purchase also guarantees a big payday for the private equity companies that own Kosmos — Warburg Pincus, with 55 percent, and the Blackstone Group. The acquisition still requires approval from the government of Ghana.

• Downstream news:

- ExxonMobil Chemical will showcase its ongoing commitment and technology leadership to the global rubber industry at The Rubber Expo™ in Pittsburgh, PA from October 13-15, 2009. The company offers the rubber industry a broad portfolio of polymer solutions, including specialty elastomers, polymer modifiers (PM) and butyl polymers. At the conference, ExxonMobil Chemical will make a number of presentations that demonstrate its technology expertise across this product portfolio.

• Business/Finance news:

- Meeting the world’s growing energy needs while managing the risks of climate change will require the development of all viable sources of energy and policies that support business investment and technology development, Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), said. Tillerson outlined the energy challenge facing America and the world – ensuring the availability of energy supplies required for economic growth while addressing the risks of climate change. He highlighted the advantages of a revenue-neutral carbon tax as an effective policy option, compared to the shortcomings of cap-and-trade systems, which can increase price volatility and cause economic harm while failing to reduce carbon emissions. Tillerson said punitive taxes targeting the energy industry are detrimental to economic growth, environmental innovation, and energy security. He said such policies ultimately raise energy costs for consumers and undercut America’s future by hindering the industry’s ability to invest in new supplies which are critical to America’s environmental and energy security. The speech also highlighted the importance to the American economy of the oil and gas industry, which supports more than 9 million jobs and provides hundreds of billions in tax revenues for federal and state governments.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and American Idol finalist Elliott Yamin have teamed up to support new malaria prevention projects at the Saint Isabel Orphanage and School in Luanda, Angola. Yamin, a champion in the fight against malaria, delivered a special performance Friday at the 1st Annual Washington Ideas Forum, two days of discussion by major newsmakers and top journalists on the most pressing issues of the day. In support of his performance, ExxonMobil made a grant of $100,000 to the orphanage and school as part of the company’s continued commitment in the fight against malaria.

- ExxonMobil will demonstrate its leadership across the natural gas value chain at Exhibit Booth H-50 at the WorldGas 2009 Conference from October 5-9, 2009 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Conference attendees will learn about the full range of ExxonMobil’s gas and power portfolio through a variety of interactive tools at the exhibition booth.

- A federal jury on found Exxon Mobil liable for contaminating groundwater in New York City and awarded the city $104.7 million in compensatory damages. The city had sought $250 million in damages to finance construction of a treatment plant to make the water in five wells in southeastern Queens drinkable. But lawyers for the city called the jury’s decision a “total victory” for their side. Dozens of similar cases are pending against oil companies nationwide over the contamination of groundwater by the additive M.T.B.E., which is highly soluble in water and has leaked from underground storage tanks across the country. The city’s lead lawyer, Vic Sher, hailed the decision. “It sends a clear signal that juries have no tolerance for big oil companies whose products pollute drinking water and that these companies have an obligation to take steps to make sure this kind of pollution doesn’t happen,” said Mr. Sher, whose San Francisco firm is handling several of the cases brought by cities and water suppliers in other states. A spokesman for Exxon Mobil, Kevin M. Allexon, said company officials were disappointed and were exploring “all our legal options.” Exxon Mobil lawyers have denied that the company was responsible and pointed at other sources of contamination. But the jury, which had been hearing the case since August and had already found against Exxon in two earlier stages of the trial, determined that Exxon knew of the potential for groundwater contamination when it added M.T.B.E. to gasoline and failed to warn government agencies, gas station owners and the public about the danger. Like ethanol, M.T.B.E., or methyl tertiary butyl ether, helps gasoline burn more cleanly and reduces tailpipe emissions. But the Environmental Protection Agency says M.T.B.E. can make water undrinkable because of its taste and odor. There is limited data on its health effects on humans, but it is considered a carcinogen in high doses in animals, and 25 states, including New York, now ban or restrict its use. In 2003 the city sued 23 oil companies over M.T.B.E. contamination from fuel leaks from gas station storage tanks. It reached settlements totaling $15 million with all of the companies except for Exxon. The jury, which heard the case before Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, sought in its deliberations to calculate what percentage of fault Exxon bore compared with other oil companies that also polluted the groundwater. Exxon lawyers contended that extra warnings about the risks of M.T.B.E. were not necessary and said that the wells were contaminated by other industry. City officials said the money would go toward installing and upgrading water treatment stations to remove M.T.B.E. and make drinking water available to Queens residents when parts of the upstate reservoir system that supplies the city’s water are out of service during repairs, droughts and other emergencies. Some environmental groups said the verdict was good news for consumers because ratepayers would not have to bear the cost of cleaning the water. In a statement, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “Our water supply is one of our most vital resources, and we will work to protect it and go after those who damage it.”

- A summit meeting on U.S.-Africa business opportunities drew government, private sector, and civil society leaders from around the world to discuss ways to improve women’s economic opportunities. The event included ExxonMobil executive Sara Ortwein, who praised The Corporate Council on Africa for its focus on women and led a roundtable discussion on strategies to promote women's economic development. ExxonMobil hosted the “Women as an Economic Force” roundtable at the closing day of The Corporate Council on Africa’s (CCA) 7th Biennial U.S.-Africa Business Summit: Realizing the Investment Power of Africa. The panelists highlighted opportunities to help drive economic growth in Africa by unleashing the economic potential of women. It was the first-ever session focused on the economic role of women at the summit, a gathering of over 1,500 participants including heads of state, government officials, and corporate leaders from around the world. The roundtable featured Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State; Eunice Kazembe, Malawi Minister of Trade and Private Sector Development; Dr. Jennifer Riria, CEO of the Kenya Women Finance Trust and Vice Chair of Women’s World Banking; Dr. Emeka Nwankwo, CEO of Vertical Optimization, LLC; and Kah Walla, Director of Strategies!, a top woman-owned consulting firm in Cameroon that competes in markets across Africa.

- ExxonMobil will release its third quarter 2009 earnings on Thursday, October 29, 2009. A news release will be issued over Business Wire.

- The Board of Directors of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) declared a cash dividend of 42 cents per share on the Common Stock, payable on December 10, 2009 to shareholders of record of Common Stock at the close of business on November 12, 2009. This fourth quarter dividend is at the same level as the dividend paid in the third quarter of 2009.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation announces estimated Third Quarter 2009 results.

- After posting record profits last year, major oil companies have struggled to adapt to a world of lower prices and slower economic growth. They have slashed costs, shed employees and pared high-cost investments made when prices were rising. As oil prices have fallen, so have corporate earnings. Exxon Mobil, the world’s biggest publicly traded oil company, and Royal Dutch Shell, the top European company, both reported sharp declines in third-quarter earnings. The plunge in profits occurred amid a recovery in oil prices, which had fallen as low as $34 a barrel in December from their peak of $147 a barrel last summer. Oil closed at $79.87 a barrel in New York trading, up $2.41. The rebound has been a relief for producers. While prices remain historically high, the industry has been squeezed because of investment decisions made while oil was rising. Today, few petroleum executives imagine returning to a world where oil trades at $20 a barrel, the average throughout the 1990s. In fact, a level of $65 to $75 a barrel is increasingly viewed as a new minimum for the industry. If prices settle below that range, many oil executives say they will find it difficult to expand production or invest in new exploration projects. While most of its big competitors have been restructuring operations and cutting expenses, Exxon said it would stick with its plans to spend $25 billion to $30 billion a year over the next few years to develop new energy supplies. The company said that its profits in the third quarter declined 68 percent, to $4.73 billion, or 98 cents a share, falling short of analysts’ expectations. That compared with earnings of $14.83 billion a year ago, the company’s best quarter. Exxon became the world’s most profitable corporation in 2008, earning $45 billion as oil averaged $100 a barrel. Exxon’s shares traded down for much of the day after the company’s profit came in below forecasts of $1.06 a share. But the stock ended the day up 12 cents at $73.96. Exxon posted a loss at its American refining business for the second consecutive quarter. The company said that its spending in the quarter fell by 5 percent compared with last year, to $6.5 billion. Its oil and gas production in the period rose by 3 percent. Shell’s net income fell to $3.25 billion from $8.45 billion in the same period last year. In London, Shell shares fell 55 pence, or 2.9 percent, to 1,856 pence. Shell has outlined a sharp cost-cutting program in recent months. It is eliminating 5,000 jobs, about 10 percent of its work force, and merging some units. The company said that as part of its restructuring efforts, it would take a charge in the fourth quarter that might total “several hundred millions of dollars” because of the job cuts. The company said it had reduced operating costs by about $1 billion in the first nine months of the year. Similar efforts are already paying off at BP, the British oil giant. The company reported better-than-expected earnings after beating its own cost-reduction targets and increasing output. Higher oil prices in recent years meant that oil companies increased their spending on more expensive exploration efforts, such as oil sands, to increase production. They were also forced to raise spending as costs throughout the industry doubled from 2004 to 2008. But as prices fell, oil majors as well as independent producers across the country have struggled to adapt. They have capped wells that have become uneconomical, for example, and in Canada, heavy oil projects have been put on hold. While oil prices have dropped 45 percent since their peak last summer, costs have fallen by only 15 to 20 percent since last year’s peak, said Patrick de la Chevardière, chief financial officer of the French oil giant Total. Conoco Phillips, for example, said it would reduce its capital expenses by 12 percent next year, and planned to sell assets worth $10 billion over the next two years. Conoco said that its third-quarter profits fell 71 percent, to $1.5 billion. Eni, the giant Italian oil company, slashed its dividend by 23 percent over the summer, in part to protect its spending program, but the move stunned investors who have long been accustomed to the industry’s policy of paying high dividends. Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, will report earnings. The picture is not entirely grim. Companies have made large discoveries this year. BP announced a major offshore find in the Gulf of Mexico last month, while Anadarko Petroleum and its partners said they had identified a major offshore petroleum basin running from Ghana to Sierra Leone. But oil companies must run faster just to stand still. More than 3.5 million barrels a day of new capacity must be added each year to offset the normal decline of old fields around the world. Some of that can be done by stimulating existing fields to pump more oil; some by investing in new capacity in already-discovered reserves, such as in Saudi Arabia; and some through well-head exploration.

- ExxonMobil and Cameroon Oil Transportation Company (COTCO) announced the start of the Global Women in Management program in Douala. The training program will focus on enhancing the organizational and entrepreneurial skills of African women leaders. The Global Women in Management program is designed to prepare women leaders to assume increased responsibilities and accountability in their personal, institutional and community lives by bolstering skills in program and financial management, leadership, fundraising and proposal development, strategic communication, supervision, and advocacy.

November

• Upstream news:

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) affiliate Esso Exploration Angola (Block 15) Limited (Esso Angola) is celebrating 15 years of safe and successful operations in Angola. Esso Angola and its venture partners in Block 15 have worked with the government of Angola to maximize the value of the country’s resources, creating long-term benefits for the Angolan people. The block surpassed one billion barrels in cumulative production in September and is currently producing over 600,000 barrels of oil per day. It is currently the single largest producing block in the country, and since 1994, the company and its co-venturers have announced resource discoveries totaling nearly 5 billion oil-equivalent barrels.

- The Iraqi government signed a deal with a consortium led by U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. to develop a major oil field in southern Iraq, marking the first entry by an American-dominated group into Iraq's oil industry since it was nationalized in 1972. The deal coincides with a flurry of activity this week that suggests major oil companies are finally poised to return to Iraq, more than six years after the U.S.-led military invasion raised firms' hopes of gaining access to some of the world's largest and most underdeveloped oil reserves. This week, a group led by Italy's Eni that includes the U.S. company Occidental Petroleum Corp. initialed a preliminary agreement, and China National Petroleum Corp. and Britain's BP finalized an accord to develop oil fields in the south. The deals are service contracts. That means the consortia will invest money to improve the yields of the fields and receive in return a fixed fee. The agreements came after the oil companies dramatically lowered their fees to match those offered by the Iraqi government at a public auction in June. The Exxon Mobil-led consortium, which includes Royal Dutch Shell, will receive $1.90 per barrel of extra oil produced, down from the $4 it asked for in June. The consortium, 80% controlled by Exxon Mobil, will invest $25 billion to improve the yield of the West Qurna 1 field from 290,000 barrels a day to 2.3 million barrels a day, Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani said at the signing ceremony. Major oil companies have been eyeing Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, but the Iraqi government has acted slowly to encourage them. That changed this year as falling oil prices and lagging exports put a squeeze on the national budget. But the June auction fizzled after it emerged that Iraq wasn't willing to pay the fees demanded by the oil firms. Getting the companies to accept lower fees is a major victory for the government, said Peter Kemp of New York-based Energy Intelligence. There are some doubts about the legality of these contracts, because the Iraqi parliament has still not passed new oil legislation. That's a risk the companies appear willing to take to gain access to Iraqi oil, Kemp said.

- ExxonMobil Production Company received a 2009 Continuing Excellence award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under its Natural Gas STAR Program.

- The Natural Gas Star Program recognizes companies that apply cost-effective technologies and management practices to improve operational efficiency and reduce methane emissions. The Continuing Excellence Award is presented to companies that annually self report to the EPA and continually demonstrate a high level of performance in reducing emissions, implementing a variety of technologies and practices, and supporting the program's activities, initiatives, and outreach. Neil Ryan, regulatory manager for ExxonMobil's U.S. production operations, accepted the award on October 20 in San Antonio, TX. ExxonMobil joined the EPA's Star Award program in 1995. Since then, ExxonMobil has reduced methane emissions from its U.S. production operations by more than 21 billion cubic feet - the equivalent of removing more than 1.5 million passenger cars from the road. Over the past five years, ExxonMobil has invested more than $1.5 billion in activities that improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, the company pursues initiatives to increase its own energy efficiency in the short term; advance proven emissions-reducing technologies in the medium term; and develop breakthrough, game-changing technologies for the long term. These initiatives will reduce emissions generated by both ExxonMobil operations and consumers.

- Photo of ExxonMobil's Point Thomson Project is available on Business Wire’s website and AP Photo Express. ExxonMobil successfully completed the Point Thomson Project summer work program, safely resupplying the site some 60 miles east of Deadhorse to allow drilling to commence in late November.

• Downstream news:

- ExxonMobil Chemical’s affiliate TonenGeneral and Toray Industries have agreed to establish a global joint venture for the battery separator film business. It will develop, manufacture and sell lithium ion battery (LIB) separator film and introduce next-generation films to the market. The joint venture will combine Toray’s plastic film processing and polymer science capabilities with Tonen's existing lithium ion battery separator film business and technology. It will build on ExxonMobil’s more than 20 years of experience and success in providing separator films, including for use in the personal electronics market, as well as support the development of future LIB applications in hybrid-electric and electric vehicles.

- ExxonMobil and its partners, Sinopec, Fujian Province and Saudi Aramco, celebrated the full operation of China’s first integrated refining and petrochemical facility with foreign participation. This facility, the Fujian Integrated Refining and Ethylene Joint Venture Project, will help meet the region’s growing need for fuels and chemical products. More than $4.5 billion was invested in the complex, which tripled the capacity of the existing refinery to 240,000 barrels per day to produce transportation fuels and other refined products. In addition, the project added a new petrochemical complex that includes an 800,000 tons-per-year ethylene steam cracker, an 800,000 tons-per-year polyethylene unit, a 400,000 tons-per-year polypropylene unit and a 700,000 tons-per-year paraxylene unit. The complex also features a state-of-the-art 250 megawatt cogeneration facility, which will meet the majority of the site’s power demands. Cogeneration is the simultaneous production of electricity and useful heat or steam from waste energy, resulting in lower operating costs and significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Tillerson said integration between the refining, chemicals and fuels marketing operations provides significant synergies and helps protect overall profitability.

- Underscoring the performance benefits high-quality motor oil technology can deliver, ExxonMobil and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) unveiled a new technological partnership in which ExxonMobil will provide its Mobil 1 racing oil technology and products to TRD-supported NASCAR teams. Kicking off at the start of the 2010 NASCAR season, TRD-supplied NASCAR engines will be filled with specially modified motor oil based on the same technology available to consumers in Mobil 1 Racing oils, which were unveiled in April. The TRD-specific motor oils will deliver outstanding power via unique low-friction synthetic lubricant technology combined with boosted levels of anti-wear additives to protect and extend the life of engine hardware. Formally announced before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, the collaboration will pair Mobil 1, the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR,” with one of NASCAR’s top engine manufacturers. With this new partnership, ExxonMobil’s racing oil technology will now provide performance and protection for the TRD-supported Red Bull Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing NASCAR teams.

- ExxonMobil announced that Mobil 1, the world’s leading fully synthetic motor oil brand, has been selected as the factory- and service-fill endorsed motor oil for the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, the first-ever, full-size luxury sports utility vehicle to feature hybrid powertrain technology. Powered by GM’s innovative Two-Mode Hybrid Engine Technology™, which seamlessly blends power from two electric motors using a 300V battery pack with a combustion engine, the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid delivers a 50-percent city fuel economy improvement compared to previous versions of the popular vehicle. The Cadillac Escalade Hybrid was launched in September 2008 and is now available at Cadillac dealerships in the U.S., Canada and China. In addition, Mobil 1 has also been selected as the factory- and service-fill endorsed motor oil for the redesigned Cadillac CTS-V, which was launched in November 2008. Part of Cadillac’s acclaimed V-Series of high-performance vehicles, the 2009 CTS-V features a 6.2 liter supercharged V8 engine that produces 556 horsepower (410 kW) and 550 lb.-ft.(745 Nm) of torque, making it one of the fastest V8 production sedans in the world.

- ExxonMobil Chemical announced the completion and start-up of an expansion at its Rotterdam Aromatics Plant. The expansion has made this world-scale plant ExxonMobil’s largest paraxylene production facility. Paraxylene capacity at the plant has been increased by 25 percent to 700,000 tons, and benzene capacity increased by 20 percent to 830,000 tons per annum. The expansion at the Rotterdam complex, owned and operated by ExxonMobil Chemical Holland B.V., was announced in 2007 and completed on schedule. The expansion is part of ExxonMobil Chemical's strategy to develop world-scale, highly integrated chemical facilities with globally competitive cost structures. The new unit in Rotterdam benefits from integration with existing facilities and captures a number of synergies with the base plant.

- ExxonMobil Chemical (NYSE:XOM) announced the availability of an additional 15 thousand tons per year (kta) of high viscosity (Hi Vis) polyalphaolefins (PAO) production. This additional production, achieved through a custom manufacturing arrangement, will help the company meet growing demands for its high-performance PAO fluids. ExxonMobil Chemical is the world’s largest PAO producer. The company's high-performance PAO products range from 2 cSt to 1,000 cSt and are part of a comprehensive synthetics basestocks portfolio that includes Synesstic™ alkylated naphthalenes.

• Business/Finance news:

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and the National Community Action Foundation (NCAF) announced they have awarded approximately $4 million in grants to recipients of the ExxonMobil/NCAF Weatherization Training Partnership program. The grants will support training for workers to improve energy efficiency of low-income homes across the nation. The grant recipients proposed the most innovative new approaches and partnerships to enhance training for workers delivering weatherization services through the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program.

- Affordable and reliable energy supplies necessary to rebuild the global economy require polices that encourage investment, expand international trade and promote technological innovation, Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), said. Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO’s Summit, Tillerson said energy is critical to economic development, and despite the current downturn, demand is expected to grow in the years ahead, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. ExxonMobil is supporting Asia-Pacific growth through a range of major investments in the region. These include new and expanded refining and chemical manufacturing capacity in China and Singapore and the construction of a battery separator film plant in Korea. The company is also working on the development of multi-billion-dollar LNG projects in Australia and Papua New Guinea to deliver new supplies of cleaner-burning natural gas to help meet growing regional energy needs.

December

• Upstream news:

- ExxonMobil Production Company announced that it has resumed drilling on two wells started earlier this year at Point Thomson and is on schedule to reach total depth by year-end 2010. The company drilled each of the wells, PTU-15 and PTU-16, to approximately 5,000 feet during the summer, as deep as possible during the ice-free season. Drilling into deeper formations is permitted only during the period November 1 through April 15. This season’s drilling program follows a successful summer work program which safely delivered over 30,000 tons of fuel, equipment and supplies in 120 barge runs from the Prudhoe Bay West Dock, some 60 miles west of the Point Thomson drilling site.

• Downstream news:

- Unipec Asia Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) and Esso Highlands Limited, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and operator of the Papua New Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas (PNG LNG) Project, today announced that Sinopec and the project participants have entered into a binding sales and purchase agreement for the long-term sale and purchase of LNG totalling approximately 2.0 million tonnes per annum. Under the agreement, the PNG LNG Project will supply LNG to Sinopec’s LNG terminal in Shandong Province, for a period of 20 years.

- Chevron Corp. will pull its name from about 1,100 service stations in Eastern states, the company said. It's the latest major oil company to cut back on retail operations where profit margins can be razor thin. BP, Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips have stepped away from the retail side in varying degrees over the last 18 months. Chevron said it would withdraw from motor fuels operations in Washington, D.C., and 12 states from Indiana to South Carolina by the middle of 2010.

- Tokyo Electric Power Company Limited (TEPCO) and Esso Highlands Limited, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and operator of the Papua New Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas (PNG LNG) Project, announced that TEPCO and the project participants have entered into a binding sales and purchase agreement for the long-term sale and purchase of LNG totalling approximately 1.8 million tonnes per annum. The agreement is effective for a 20-year period.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) announced that the co-venturers have agreed to proceed with the development of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, pending completion of sales and purchase agreements with LNG buyers and finalization of financing arrangements with lenders. At a ceremony at the PNG National Parliament House in Port Moresby, Peter Graham, managing director of Esso Highlands Limited, an ExxonMobil subsidiary, announced that pending completion of these sales and financing arrangements, significant project activity will commence in 2010. Esso Highlands is the operator of the project.

- Large-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects will be necessary to meet increasing global demand for natural gas, Tom Walters, president of ExxonMobil Gas and Power Marketing Company, said at a panel presentation at the International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) in Doha. Walters joined a group of industry leaders in a panel entitled: “The Global Gas Outlook: New Gas Chains.” Presenting information from ExxonMobil’s 2009 Energy Outlook, Walters noted that despite the current economic environment, economic progress will be a key driver of energy demand over the long term. “We expect global energy demand to grow from about 230 million barrels a day of oil equivalent (MBDOE) in 2005 to over 300 MBDOE by 2030 – an increase of almost 35 percent,” he said.

- Esso Highlands Limited, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and operator of the PNG LNG Project, announced that the Project participants have finalized a Sale and Purchase Agreement with Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. for the long-term sale and purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG) totaling approximately 1.5 million tonnes per annum (MTA). The agreement is effective for a 20-year period. The PNG LNG co-venturers recently announced approval to proceed with the development of the Project pending completion of all sales and purchase agreements with LNG customers and finalization of financing arrangements with lenders. The PNG LNG Project is an integrated development that includes gas production and processing facilities, onshore and offshore pipelines and liquefaction facility with the capacity of 6.6 million tonnes per year. Participating interests include affiliates of Exxon Mobil Corporation (including Esso Highlands Limited as operator, 33.2 percent), Oil Search Limited (29.0 percent), Independent Public Business Corporation (PNG Government, 16.6 percent), Santos Limited (13.5 percent), Nippon Oil Exploration (4.7 percent), Mineral Resources Development Company (PNG landowners, 2.8 percent) and Petromin PNG Holdings Limited (0.2 percent). Osaka Gas is a major energy supplier in Japan headquartered in Osaka with a customer base of 6.9 million. The company purchased a total of 7.4 million tonnes of LNG in 2008.

• Business/Finance news:

- ExxonMobil will demonstrate its expertise and commitment to developing breakthrough energy technologies at the 2009 International Petroleum Technology Conference December 7-9, 2009, at the Sheraton Doha Resort and Convention Hotel. Rich Kruger, president of ExxonMobil Production Company, will speak at the conference executive plenary session on December 7. Kruger will highlight the importance of commitment and endurance by industries, governments and people from all over the world in meeting the world’s growing energy needs - the central theme of this year’s conference. ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company Engineering Vice President Marco Rasi will address “Environmental Solutions and Sustainability” on a December 7 panel. Tom Walters, president of ExxonMobil Gas and Power Marketing Company, will speak during the December 8 panel session on “Global Gas Outlook." Walters will provide insights into the anticipated 50 percent increase in demand for natural gas and the challenge to deliver massive energy projects, particularly those relating to LNG projects.

- Meeting the world’s growing energy needs requires commitment and endurance by industries, governments and people from all over the world, Rich Kruger, president of ExxonMobil Production Company, said in a keynote address at the 2009 International Petroleum Technology Conference in Doha. Kruger stated that ExxonMobil has maintained its capital investment program through the economic downturn and has announced plans to spend US$25 billion to $30 billion annually over the next five years on energy projects around the world. “These are record investment levels, made possible by our long-term view of industry cycles and our financial discipline,” he said.

- At the heart of the planet’s energy challenge, per discussions in Copenhagen, are the twin goals of providing adequate energy supplies while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. In its latest outlook on world energy trends, Exxon Mobil joins the debate — by advocating for a carbon tax and highlighting the contribution made by efficiency measures in reducing energy demand. Exxon sees global emissions of carbon dioxide rising by an average of 0.9 percent a year through 2030. The company also finds that carbon emissions in developed economies will be approaching 1980 levels by 2030 even as their populations and economies expand. Meanwhile, all the growth in carbon dioxide emissions will come from developing nations, even though their per-capital emissions remain far lower than developed nations. Global energy demand will grow by 35 percent from 2005 to 2030. All of that growth will come from developing nations: Energy demand from countries like China, India, Africa, the Middle East and South America, will grow by 65 percent by 2030, Exxon predicts. Meanwhile, energy demand from countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will actually decline slightly over the same time frame, even as their economies grow by 50 percent. The main reason for this disconnect is simple: developed nations are getting much better at using energy more efficiently and growing their economies on less power. In fact, gains in energy efficiency will reduce worldwide growth in energy demand by 65 percent through 2030, according to Exxon. On the supply side, Exxon believes that natural gas will overtake coal as the second biggest source of energy globally, after oil. Despite the concerns associated with the development of shale gas, particularly in the United States, developing gas reserves will help slow the growth in carbon emissions. The company’s prescription for the future, according to the outlook, is the following: “Improve efficiency. Expand energy supplies. Mitigate emissions. Develop new technologies. Each of these solutions will be needed to meet our interlocking energy challenges through 2030 and beyond.”

- Growing world economies will increase energy demand by about 35 percent in 2030 compared to 2005, requiring trillions of dollars in investment and a commitment to innovation and technology, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) said as it released its new edition of Outlook for Energy: A View to 2030. Tillerson said supplies of all economic fuel sources need to be expanded to satisfy projected increases in global energy demand and ensure reliable and affordable energy to meet social, economic and environmental challenges. ExxonMobil notes that together, population and economic growth through 2030 will continue to drive global energy demand higher. The world’s population is expected to rise to almost 8 billion, creating new demands for energy for personal needs such as fuels for cars and electricity for homes, but also energy that is consumed indirectly to serve the broader society and economy. The Outlook includes an assessment of how potential carbon emission reduction policies will affect future energy demand and impact the fuel mix. For example, imposing higher costs for carbon emissions would impact energy prices and provide an incentive to switch to less carbon-intensive fuels such as natural gas, which can help meet growing electricity demand and help reduce power generation emissions by up to 60 percent versus coal.

- Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation, presented Irving Cares with a $50,000 grant in support of the nonprofit organization’s work with Irving residents in need of employment services, food and financial assistance. Irving Cares is the fourth nonprofit organization to receive ExxonMobil’s annual Chairman’s Gift. Irving Cares provides a food pantry, emergency assistance with rent, utilities and prescriptions, and transportation to medical facilities for Irving residents experiencing financial hardship. Due to the economic decline, client requests at Irving Cares have increased at least 20 percent in every program as families struggle with reduced wages and unemployment.

- Exxon Mobil said that it had agreed to buy XTO Energy, a natural gas producer, for $31 billion in stock and the assumption of $10 billion in debt, the largest energy merger in years. Under the terms of the deal, Exxon will pay XTO shareholders 0.7098 common shares for each of their XTO shares, or about $51.69 based on closing prices. The deal, which is taking advantage of low natural gas prices, represents a 25 percent premium for XTO’s shares. The deal would give Exxon the equivalent of about 45 trillion cubic feet of natural gas throughout the United States, in a bet that demand will continue to rise. XTO, founded in 1986, is the nation’s largest domestic producer of natural gas. Exxon’s deal has prompted speculation among analysts over which natural gas producers may be up for sale next, with companies like Devon Energy now considered potential takeover targets. Exxon said that after the deal’s close, expected in the second quarter next year, it would keep XTO as an upstream business unit to develop natural gas resources from unconventional sources like shale rock. The business will remain in XTO’s headquarters in Fort Worth. Exxon was advised by JPMorgan Chase, while XTO was advised by Barclays Capital and Jefferies.

- Exxon Mobil finally unlocked its huge treasury share vault, snapping up XTO Energy in an all-stock transaction valued at $31 billion, plus the assumption of $10 billion in debt. By paying for XTO with its treasury shares, which it has built up slowly over the last decade, Exxon still has billions of dollars left over to spend. Exxon is a very conservative company and could be seen as the ultimate value investor when it comes to making acquisitions. It bides its time and waits for valuations to make sense in order to preserve its industry-leading return on average capital employed. Rather than use its phenomenal cash flow for huge, dilutive acquisitions, it preferred to spend billions of dollars buying back its own stock. The stock then went into a treasury vault — waiting for just the right time to strike. Exxon could later take that stock and use it to buy another company. As long as the value of the stock in today’s dollars is higher than what it acquired (adjusted for inflation and commensurate to the firm’s cost of capital), Exxon would be golden. It takes time and patience to build up enough stock to make a major acquisition. It also requires the company’s stock to appreciate faster than the rate at which new capital could have been used to expand the company. Most companies don’t have such long time horizons — but Exxon is unlike most companies. Exxon used the same technique in the 1990s. Back then, the company bought back enormous amounts of stock and put it aside, listing the shares on its balance sheet as “common stock held in treasury.” Then in 1998, when oil prices crashed to about $10 a barrel, Exxon made its move — and used those shares it stored away to buy rival Mobil in an all-stock transaction valued at about $80 billion. Since Exxon had bought back the shares at prices far below what its common shares were trading at, it essentially paid a fraction of the cost it would have had it issued new shares at market prices to buy Mobil. After the Mobil deal, Exxon again started to amass a large pile of treasury shares. At the end of the third quarter of 2009, the company had 3.272 billion shares held in its treasury, for which it paid $165 billion over the last decade. If that stock were valued at the same price that Exxon’s shares closed at last Friday at $72.83 a share, it would be worth $238 billion, or $73 billion more than Exxon paid for it. The surplus value of the treasury shares covered the entire value of the deal and even leaves the company with a healthy surplus in case it feels like doing some more shopping.

- Over the last decade, a handful of the nation’s small energy companies pulled off a coup. Right under the noses of the industry’s biggest players, they discovered huge amounts of natural gas in fields stretching from Texas to Pennsylvania. One of these companies, XTO Energy, grew almost unnoticed into the nation’s second-largest gas producer, amassing a substantial portfolio of gas fields, and developing expertise in the complex technology needed to extract the gas from beds of a dark rock called shale. Now, the biggest energy companies are paying attention. Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil and gas producer, said that it had agreed to buy XTO in an all-stock deal valued at $31 billion, the biggest oil and gas deal in four years. The purchase allows Exxon to expand in shale gas, an area that has seen tremendous growth, and increase its gas resources by 45 trillion cubic feet, roughly equivalent to two years of domestic demand. The transaction is the company’s biggest since the $81 billion merger of Exxon and Mobil in 1999. The acquisition extends Exxon’s bet that fossil fuels will remain a critical part of the nation’s energy supply for decades. At the same time, Exxon expects the demand for natural gas, which emits half as much carbon dioxide as coal when burned, will rise as the United States looks to pare its global warming emissions and the world seeks greener sources of energy. Shale gas drilling poses some environmental concerns in the communities where it occurs. Yet natural gas holds promise to help slow the growth in global carbon dioxide emissions, if power companies shift toward burning more gas and less coal. Exxon said this month, in its long-term outlook on energy demand, that it expected natural gas consumption to grow faster than oil or coal consumption over the next two decades. “These unconventional resources are going to take on an increasing role in our energy needs,” said Daniel Yergin, the chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consulting firm, adding that the interest of large oil companies in shale gas was fairly recent. “This demonstrates how important natural gas is now, seen as part of the mix for a low-carbon future.” After largely ignoring the surge in domestic resources, Washington is starting to pay attention, too, as Congress struggles to come up with an energy and climate bill that will reduce carbon emissions. J. Larry Nichols, the chairman of Devon Energy and of the American Petroleum Institute, said: “Regardless whether or not Congress passes any legislation regulating carbon, the underlying fact is our nation is going to need a growing amount of electricity, and natural gas is in an excellent position to capture a significant amount of that market.” Big companies concentrated their efforts in recent years on international bets, leaving domestic exploration to smaller oil and gas companies with limited financial resources. Even as gas production grew in recent years, many companies went deeply into debt to finance their exploration. Gas prices tumbled when the recession hit, leaving many of the small companies in a weakened financial position. That means more of them could become acquisition targets. Gas prices have recovered from their lows in recent months, trading at $5.33 per thousand cubic feet in New York, after falling as low as $2.50 in September. At their highest levels, in 2004 and in 2008, gas prices rose above $14 per thousand cubic feet. Exxon’s deal is the latest and most significant signal that large companies are moving to make major investments in American shale fields. Over the last year, BP; Statoil, the Norwegian oil company; and Eni, the Italian oil company have bought several billion dollars of shale gas assets in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas. What may be emerging, industry analysts say, is a marriage between companies with deep pockets that need to expand their fossil-fuel reserves and companies that have staked out enormous fields but have little financial wherewithal to develop them. David Rockecharlie, co-head of the energy investment banking group at the Jefferies Group, who was a lead adviser to XTO in its negotiations with Exxon, estimated that it would take more than $1 trillion to develop domestic shale fields. That is an amount that independent producers cannot finance alone. The purchase could set off a fresh round of mergers and acquisitions in the energy sector, which had been quiet recently. The last major oil and gas deal was the $35 billion takeover of Burlington Resources, another gas company, by ConocoPhillips in 2005, according to data from Thomson Reuters. For major oil companies like Exxon, Shell, BP or Chevron, who have found it tough to increase their production and reserves on their own, big acquisitions offer a quick way to expand their operations after amassing mountains of cash in recent years. Industry executives and analysts predicted that potential takeover targets could include Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy, EnCana and EOG Resources. Exxon already has substantial gas production in Qatar, Russia and Nigeria. This month, it approved the construction of a $15 billion project in Papua New Guinea to supply gas to Japan and China. The company is also part of a $37 billion deal to deliver Australian gas throughout Asia over the next several decades. But the company has lagged in the United States, where XTO produces twice as much natural gas as Exxon does. With the help of some acquisitions of its own, XTO reported a 23 percent jump in gas production in the third quarter, to 2.33 billion cubic feet a day, putting it just behind Chesapeake as the top domestic producer. Founded in 1986, XTO has developed a strong technical knowledge in developing shale gas, which Exxon would like to apply to unconventional gas holdings it has been building up in Poland, Hungary and Argentina, Mr. Tillerson said. Exxon will set up a production unit to manage its global portfolio of unconventional resources that will be based in Fort Worth, in XTO’s current offices. The term unconventional resources is applied to a broad category of fuels like shale gas, tar sands and other forms of oil and gas that require sophisticated technology to extract and are typically more expensive to develop. Unlike traditional oil and gas supplies, which have been declining, reserves of unconventional resources are growing because of new discoveries. Exxon will assume XTO’s $10 billion in debt as part of the deal.

- An easing of concerns about debt problems overseas and a $29-billion takeover deal by Exxon Mobil nudged major stock indexes to new highs for the year. The market opened higher after Abu Dhabi extended $10 billion to help its sister Persian Gulf city-state Dubai make debt payments. Analysts have been concerned since last month that Dubai's debt crisis could send ripples through global credit markets. The news of Exxon's agreement to acquire XTO Energy boosted stocks overall because it could signal more takeovers. But a 4.3% drop in Exxon's shares held the Dow Jones industrials to a more modest gain than other major indexes. The Dow rose 29.55 points, or 0.3%, to 10,501.05. The S&P 500 index gained 7.70 points, or 0.7%, to 1,114.11, its highest finish since Oct. 2, 2008. The Nasdaq composite index jumped 21.79 points, or 1%, to 2,212.10. The Russell 2,000 index of smaller companies jumped 1.6%. From here, it needs to rise 2.3% to surpass its previous one-year high, set Oct. 14.

- Exxon Mobil Corp.'s purchase of a Texas natural gas producer for $29 billion could reshape the U.S. energy landscape, setting the stage for the fuel to challenge coal in the nation's electrical grid and helping to alleviate American dependence on foreign oil. The wager by the nation's largest oil company positions Exxon Mobil to thrive in a world where petroleum, its key product, is getting tougher to come by. The deal is a "game-changer" that could shift the U.S. energy mix while reducing carbon emissions, said oil expert Daniel Yergin, author of "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power." Natural gas burns cleaner than oil or coal and is expected to be in particular demand as restrictions are tightened on the release of greenhouse gases. Exxon's purchase of Fort Worth-based XTO Energy Inc. will be an all-stock deal. Exxon, of Irving, Texas, will also assume $10 billion of XTO's debt. By purchasing XTO, Exxon becomes an instant leader in the extraction of natural gas from shale, a relatively new process that has opened up the U.S. to a new gold rush of potential fuel. Other energy companies are also positioning themselves to expand their natural gas businesses as gas is used increasingly to generate electricity and to power buses and trains. If the industry grows as expected, as many as 175,000 jobs could be created over the next 10 years, said John Felmy, chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute. Key, he said, are the improved technologies that allow the fuel to be drawn from shale, making it so abundant that it could cheaply replace fuel that now has to be purchased from overseas. Felmy was on the road in an impoverished part of north-central Pennsylvania. Felmy said that area is now thought to harbor 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in a shale formation. "You might as well produce it here -- generate jobs and revenues for governments and reduce the trade deficit," said Felmy, who was in the region to help convince local officials and residents that the gas could be recovered safely and in an environmentally sound way. Analysts said Exxon's purchase of XTO was a sign that the giant oil company was betting on a much larger role for natural gas in the U.S. energy future. Natural gas will probably be used to fuel more U.S. power plants. Bus and truck fleets are projected to lead a massive expansion in the use of natural gas for short- and medium-range transportation. A big increase in natural gas-powered personal vehicles might be much further down the road, said Phil Weiss, an oil analyst for Argus Research. Some consumer groups criticized the deal, which must be approved by shareholders of both companies as well as by federal regulators. Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's energy program, said Exxon would have too much influence over the price of natural gas, which so far has been abundant and relatively cheap. He also said the move was disappointing because it showed that the company continued to emphasize fossil fuels over alternative forms of energy. XTO, founded in 1986, has emerged as a major player in the domestic natural gas production field. Its properties include parts of a major find called the Bakken Field in North Dakota and other holdings in the Appalachian regions of Pennsylvania. The company uses what industry experts call "unconventional means" to extract natural gas, including removing the fuel from shale. It is this unconventional recovery that experts say holds the greatest hope for increased natural gas production in the United States. If approved, the purchase would position Exxon to take advantage of natural gas resources that are vastly larger than previously thought. In June, the Potential Gas Committee, which is based in Golden, Colo., said that new discoveries and reassessments of old formations had increased its estimate of how much natural gas was available for extraction. The group said the future supply of natural gas in the U.S. would be 2,074 trillion cubic feet, up 35.4% from previous estimates. That was the rough equivalent of 100 years' worth of fuel at current natural gas usage rates, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Exxon's decision to enter this market is a bold move, said energy analyst Weiss. "Exxon does not have much of a position in U.S. natural gas, and this gives them one," he said. XTO's stock price closed up $6.37, or 15%, at $47.86 after the announcement. Some of its competitors were swept along by the excitement, with EOG Resources up $4.34 to $90.39 and Southwestern Energy up $3.01 to $44.46. Exxon's own shareholders were skeptical, driving the trading price down $3.14 to $69.69. In New York futures trading, oil for January delivery slipped 36 cents to $69.51 a barrel, and natural gas for January delivery rose to an 11-month high, up 16.9 cents to $5.33 per million British thermal units.

- Houston-based former U.S. Astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. will give almost 10,000 Houston-area students a first-hand experience with the wonders of science, technology, engineering and math during a high-tech, high-energy performance at the Toyota Center on Monday, Dec. 14. The event, the final stop of the 2009 “Dream Tour, presented by ExxonMobil,” will feature appearances from local athletes, ExxonMobil engineers, and upbeat performances from local artists all focused on encouraging students to pursue careers in math and science. Students from the Alief, Aldine, Fort Bend, Houston and North Forest school districts will join Dr. Harris for the two-hour program. The tour, which has visited nine other U.S. cities in 2009, is designed to encourage middle school students to realize their potential and strive to acquire strong math and science skills.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) and XTO Energy Inc. announced an all-stock transaction valued at $41 billion. The agreement, which is subject to XTO stockholder approval and regulatory clearance, will enhance ExxonMobil’s position in the development of unconventional natural gas and oil resources. Under the terms of the agreement, approved by the boards of directors of both companies, ExxonMobil has agreed to issue 0.7098 common shares for each common share of XTO. This represents a 25 percent premium to XTO stockholders. The transaction value includes $10 billion of existing XTO debt and is based on the closing share prices of ExxonMobil and XTO on December 11, 2009.

- Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), through its affiliate Esso Exploration Angola (Block 15) Limited (Esso Angola), announced $3.5 million in grants for public health and education programs in Angola. The ten grants, provided by the ExxonMobil Foundation, are aimed at combating malaria and expanding educational opportunities for women. The grants will be disbursed in partnership with national and international non-governmental organizations. The grants will provide additional financial support for existing programs and also facilitate the development and deployment of new programs. The anti-malaria grants will support programs that help two of the most vulnerable groups: women and children less than five years of age. The programs include training and education on prevention and treatment, the provision of insecticide treated bed nets and other medical resources, and access to health facilities. The women’s educational grants, in addition to providing vocational training and literacy education, will support a training program for teenage girls.

- ExxonMobil announced that its employees in the Metropolitan D.C. area raised more than $2.7 million for local community and charitable organizations during the 2009 Employees' Favorite Charities Campaign. The amount is a record level for the campaign, which has raised nearly $16 million for organizations in the Metropolitan D.C. area since 2002. This year, employees donated to over 500 charities with nearly half qualifying for ExxonMobil’s charitable matching program. As a result, 230 local non-profit organizations providing health and human services will receive contributions from ExxonMobil in addition to the individual donations made by employees.

- The ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Program announced it awarded $1.8 million in grants this year to 2,400 schools to enhance math and science programs across the United States. It is the 10th consecutive year for the program, which has provided grants to K-12 educational institutions in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Local schools are eligible to apply for Educational Alliance grants by partnering with their nearby Exxon or Mobil branded retailer, the vast majority of which are independently owned and operated. Since 2000, the program has contributed more than $18 million to local schools through Exxon and Mobil retailers.