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Exxon Faces Historic Writedown After Energy Markets Implode

  • Company to gut carrying value of Western Hemisphere gas assets
  • Move stems from 2010’s $35 billion bet on XTO Energy shale
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
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Exxon Mobil Corp. is about to incur the biggest writedown in its modern history as the giant U.S. oil and gas producer reels from this year’s collapse in energy prices.

Exxon -- traditionally far more reluctant to cut the book value of its business than other oil majors -- on Monday disclosed it will write down North and South American natural gas fields by $17 billion to $20 billion. That could make it the industry’s steepest impairment since BP Plc’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill that killed 11 workers and fouled the sea for months. Meanwhile, capital spending will be drastically reduced through 2025.