ExxonMobil Bucks Trend of the Times, Says 'We're Still Hiring'

According to a report from the Associated Press, ExxonMobil's Chairman and CEO, Rex W. Tillerson told reporters at the inaguration of the Qatargas 2 LNG plant yesterday that the oil supermajor will not reduce its staff or trim its investment in response to a stagnant economy. ExxonMobil's head emphasized that his company intends to set its sights on future commitments rather than let its gears rust amid a slowing demand in the energy sector.

Tillerson said ExxonMobil plans to open its hefty wallet and shell out up to $129 billion -- the amount of which "spans across the entire scope" of the Irving-based business -- on new projects over the next five years.

"Our business plans are developed with a very long view in mind," Tillerson said. "So the fact that we're in a temporary economic downturn -- and it will be temporary; it will turn -- really does not affect our business plans at all."

The AP noted that ExxonMobil's capital budget was expected to top out at $29 billion in 2009, an increase from the $26.1 billion tagged last year. Tillerson reported that spending levels would likely remain between $25 and $30 billion through 2013.

Having filled its coffers to the brim during last year's crude-price boom, the Texas oil major has cushioned itself to withstand the recession that has led to dramatic adjustments in E&P budgets along a worldwide gamut of oil companies and oilfield service sectors.

An upbeat Tillerson also denied any plans to cut back on ExxonMobil's employment levels in the short-term, and said to the contrary, "We're still hiring."