American energy giant ExxonMobil will invest $20 billion in the U.S.' Gulf Coast in the next 10 years, Chairman and CEO Darren Woods announced Monday at the IHS CERAWeek 2017 energy conference.
Called the Growing the Gulf initiative, the plan includes 11 petrochemical and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in the U.S. states of Texas and Louisiana, where they are expected to create 45,000 jobs.
“We are using new and abundant domestic energy supplies to provide products at a competitive advantage," Woods said at the conference held in Houston, Texas. He added that the projects target providing oil, gas and petrochemical products to overseas markets.
"Impact of shale is providing abundant and affordable natural gas," he said.
ExxonMobil acquired around 275,000 acres in the Texas' oil-rich Permian basin for $6.6 billion in January. It is estimated to add 3.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) to the company's profile, bringing its total resources in the Permian to 6 billion boe.
The company said it would make an upfront payment of 5.6 in ExxonMobil shares, and would pay the rest piecemeal starting 2020.
Woods announced last Wednesday that ExxonMobil has set a capital spending of $22 billion for this year, which is 16 percent higher than in 2016. The company plans to spend one fourth of this on unconventional resources such as the Permian.
Woods began his new job in January, after former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson became the U.S. State Secretary under the Donald Trump administration.
Asked on how he perceives the new administration's goal of renegotiating some of the U.S.' trade agreements with other countries, Woods said he supports free trade.
"You have got to have free trade to connect the dots between resources and demand ... In our industry, providing affordable energy to different parties is important," he said.
"[The administration's] emphasis has been on fair trade. That is a legitimate avenue," he added.
By Ovunc Kutlu in Houston, Texas