Exxon Mobil Corp. expanded its share-buyback program to $50 billion through 2024 after higher oil and natural gas prices boosted the US energy giant’s earnings this year.
The enhanced repurchase program, outlined Thursday in a statement ahead of an investor presentation, compares with a previous plan to spend $30 billion through 2023. The buyback will now include $15 billion of share repurchases this year, which would be the highest annual total since 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Exxon posted record profits this year as oil and gas prices soared following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Its second and third=quarter earnings were the highest in the company’s 152-year history.
Also on Thursday, Exxon set its capital budget at about $24 billion for next year, near the top end of its medium-term $20 billion-$25 billion range. Before the pandemic, the company was spending more than $30 billion a year on new investments.
Like most of its Big Oil rivals, Exxon has vowed to maintain financial discipline even as oil prices surged above $100 a barrel this year as the company focuses on improving returns to investors and reducing emissions rather than production growth. Current spending is about one-third lower than pre-Covid levels despite pleas from President Joe Biden, who has criticized Exxon and the industry for handing record profits to shareholders and not investing enough in new production.
Chevron Corp., Exxon’s largest domestic rival, said Wednesday its budget will be 13% higher in 2023 at $17 billion, which was also at the top end of its medium-term guidance range.