The claims made by an alleged whistleblower, and reported by The Wall Street Journal, are demonstrably false. Actual and provable performance exceeded drilling plans for the Permian, and such performance has been accurately represented to the investment community. The Wall Street Journal has been aware of these facts since September.
The company stands by its statements to investors, and, if the company were to be asked about this matter by authorities, it would provide information that shows the accuracy of its valuation of the company’s Permian assets, and that actual drilling performance exceeded the plans.
ExxonMobil has an extensive and rigorous planning and budgeting process that considers many sensitivities and ranges of outcomes. It takes into account thousands of inputs including hundreds of drilling curves over a seven-month period. Learning curves were developed as a collaborative effort between the drilling team executing the work, who had the most expertise with current drilling performance, and the development team, who leveraged data from demonstrated learning curve performance in other unconventional projects. There were multiple learning curves considered and evaluated throughout the process.
It is obvious that the employees who are alleged to have made the false claims lack the breadth and depth of experience to understand how and why drilling curves are routinely revised as technologies improve and understanding of the resource base expands. Historically, the company’s unconventional drilling performance has increased in short timeframes as engineers and planners gather more data in basins across its portfolio.