- Exxon Mobil lost $20 billion in the final quarter of 2020, the oil giant said Tuesday.
- The coronavirus pandemic hammered energy prices around the world.
- It’s the company’s first-ever loss as a public company.
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Top US oil producer Exxon Mobil on Tuesday posted its first annual loss as a public company as the COVID-19 pandemic hammered energy prices and it reduced the value of its shale gas properties by more than $20 billion in the fourth quarter.
Exxon cut up to 15% of its workforce and delayed oil and gas projects after accepting oil and gas prices could remain below $60 a barrel for years. It added $22 billion to its debt last year to cover its dividend and project spending.
The company reported a net annual loss of $22.44 billion for 2020, compared with a full-year profit of $14.34 billion in 2019.
“The past year presented the most challenging market conditions ExxonMobil has ever experienced,” CEO Darren Woods said in a press release. Structural changes and cost savings should amount to $6 billion per year by 2023, he added.
Exxon posted four straight quarters of losses in 2020 and is under fire from activist investors pushing for board changes and a better strategy for a global transition to cleaner fuels.
On Tuesday it named former Petronas President Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin to its board of directors, and said it was in discussions with other candidates.
(Reporting by Jennifer Hiller in Houston and Shariq Khan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)