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A senior vice president of Exxon and the head of the company's shale operations, David Scott, has been arrested on allegations of sexual harassment.
"We are aware of the allegations and cannot comment on a personal matter; however, we can say that this individual will not continue work responsibilities as the investigation proceeds," Exxon spokeswoman Emily Mir, as quoted by Reuters.
The Financial Times, meanwhile, reported that Scott, who has been with Exxon for close to 30 years, faced charges of second-degree felony assault.
“All ExxonMobil employees, officers and directors are accountable for observing the highest standards of integrity and code of conduct in support of the company’s business and otherwise,” Exxon said in a statement, quoted by the FT, which also noted that “this individual will not continue work responsibilities”.
The news breaks days after reports said Exxon was in takeover talks with shale major Pioneer Natural Resources. This would be the biggest deal for Exxon since the merger with Mobil back in the 1990s and would make the supermajor the dominant producer in the Permian.
Pioneer, according to the reports, has a market cap of about $50 billion. Exxon, for its part, has a market cap of $436 billion and a lot of cash to spend on industry consolidation after the record-breaking 2022. The takeover of Pioneer, if it goes through, would add some 700,000 barrels of oil equivalent daily to Exxon’s shale total in the Permian—the operations that Scott was in charge of, among others.
Consolidation has become the preferred method of growth for the large players in the U.S. shale patch. The last two years saw a string of large deals, including Occidental’s acquisition of Anadarko for some $38 billion. Pioneer also grew through acquisitions, buying Parsley Energy for over $7 billion in 2020 and DoublePoint Energy for over 6 billion in 2021.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com