ExxonMobil Has No Crystal Ball

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ExxonMobil Has No Crystal Ball

BEAUMONT, Texas -- ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Rex W. Tillerson told audiences at the Texas Energy Museum that he has stopped guessing the way that gas prices will go next, the Beaumont Enterprise reported.

"It goes up and it goes down. That's the nature of a commodity business," Tillerson said Wednesday while at the museum's opening of a new $1 million exhibit sponsored by ExxonMobil and 15 additional corporations and donors.

"We don't try to guess," he added. "When we do, we're usually wrong."

Tillerson explained that in this business, successful companies must take a longer look at the environment, perhaps decades from today. "Look at capital expenditures -- the U.S. in particular. The things we invest in take a long time to complete -- generally decades-long if its going to be a success. The U.S. oil industry has invested more than it has earned in the last 15 years, in excess of $200 billion," he added. "We make decisions today not knowing the price environment 10 years from now."

He illustrated that point by citing the future $1 billion investment in the Golden Pass liquefied natural gas terminal with Qatar Petroleum and ConocoPhillips. "It's very liquid. Very open. Gas is sold on a daily basis. The question is how will the investment perform for the next 30 or 40 years, because we'll have good and not-so-good times."

Rather than predicting prices, Tillerson advised that the more important question to ask is how the company wants to invest over the long term. ExxonMobil made its first investment with the purchase of Mobil Oil Corp. in 1999, the newspaper reported.

"We're in the risk business. We're risk managers. We don't ask for guarantees. We just want an opportunity," he said.