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Exxon Reports Second Straight Quarterly Loss, Plans U.S. Job Cuts

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Colossal fossil Exxon-Mobil is reporting a second straight quarterly loss and preparing to fire up to 10% of its white collar work force in the United States, as the impact of crashing oil demand makes itself felt by the company that has most steadfastly denied that a shifting global economy could have any impact on its business.

Based on a regulatory filing last Thursday for its oil and gas production and refining businesses, Exxon faces an estimated three-month loss of US$2.3 billion, on top of $610 million for the first quarter of the year, Reuters reports [1]. “Oil prices are down 35% since January as the COVID-19 pandemic slashed demand and a global glut forced widespread production cuts,” the news agency notes. “Rivals Royal Dutch Shell and BP Plc have disclosed massive spending cuts and writedowns [2] due to the price drop.”

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Exxon’s regulatory report didn’t declare to any reduction in the value of its assets, Reuters says. “However, in a change from prior quarterly updates, Exxon noted the list may not include all charges.”

About a week before the announcement, Bloomberg reported [4] that 5-10% of Exxon’s U.S. work force who are subject to performance evaluations could lose their jobs by the end of the year. “The cuts are expected to be performance-based and not characterized as layoffs—and not all workers are subject to such evaluations, which typically apply to white-collar jobs such as engineering, finance, and project management,” the news agency wrote, citing unnamed sources.

“We have a rigorous talent management process which routinely assesses employee performance,” the company said in a statement. Previously, CEO Darren Woods had told shareholders there would be no layoffs, but the company would be scaling back its use of contractors in a bid to make its operations leaner.

But even if the colossal fossil is hurting financially, it’s still up to its old habit of trying to undercut renewable energy and decarbonization, this time by joining an attack on wind power and carbon pricing in Texas. “ExxonMobil, Kinder Morgan, and Occidental Petroleum are part of a coalition of companies that opposed a utility’s plan to provide 309 megawatts of new wind energy to customers in Texas,” the Energy and Policy Institute reports [5]. “The oil and gas companies succeeded last week when the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Texas rejected the plan by the utility”.

The three companies are all members of Texas Industrial Energy Users, an organization that has also advanced arguments against a state carbon tax, the institute says.