Exxon Mobil Pumps Up Oil Reserve

Exxon Mobil now has 1.5 billion barrels of oil above its reserve base in 2008, or 103% of output.
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Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

reported Monday that it added 1.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent to its reserve base in 2008.

In its yearly in-depth study of its own reserves, Exxon Mobil said it replaced 103% of its output for the year. If the reserve adjustments caused by asset sales are excluded, Exxon's annual replacement was 110% of 2008 output. It was the 15th consecutive year that Exxon succeeded in replacing its oil and gas production via new E&P discoveries and other reserve additions.

"This strong performance reflects our strategic focus on resource capture, a disciplined approach to investment and excellence in project execution," said Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil.

Exxon said that it produced 1.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent last year from its operations in Canada's oil sands. Revisions to prior reserve estimates also helped to increase its estimated total reserve base.

The firm's total reserve base at the end of 2008 was 22.8 billion barrels of oil equivalent, of which approximately one half is actually natural gas. That means that Exxon has about 15 years' worth of oil and gas in its inventory.

The findings were based on a long-term commodity pricing model that Exxon uses for internal projections, instead of the single-day average price that the


requires oil companies to use in financial filings. If the SEC pricing model is used, Exxon's reserve replacement rate would have been 136%.

Although Exxon often touts its history of reserve-base growth in its corporate promotions, critics of Exxon have accused it of taking action to limit its production rates in order to keep commodity prices elevated. Exxon expressly denies the allegation.

Exxon published its reserve data on Monday in a press release. It will release more complete data on its reserves at an analyst conference scheduled for March 5.

In the last hour of regular trading Tuesday on the

New York Stock Exchange

, shares of Exxon Mobil were down 3.6% at $71.94 per share.