Standard & Poor's has a strong buy recommendation and $103 twelve-month price target on Exxon explaining that the company has enjoyed "superior earnings and dividend growth and stability." Exxon has launched 11 major projects through 2013 in Qatar, the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, Russia, Angola and Nigeria, and this is expected to boost production by 600,000 boe (barrel of oil equivalent) a day. In the first quarter, Exxon's oil-equivalent production rose 10% year-over-year, driven by its assets in Qatar and growing unconventional gas production. Exxon returned over $7 billion to shareholders in the first quarter through dividends and share buybacks. The stock is considered by S&P to be low-risk.