Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Darren Woods said on Thursday that he aims to double the amount of oil produced from the company's U.S. shale holdings over a five-year period using new technologies.
The top U.S. oil producer last year postponed to 2027 a goal of pumping 1 million barrels per day in the Permian Basin, the top U.S. shale field, due to setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are beginning to see the signs of some very promising new technologies" that will "significantly improve recovery" volumes, Woods said at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions conference.
Exxon currently recovers about 10% of shale resources from its operations, he said, without specifying when the five-year technology program started.
A first wave of new shale technology could come by fracking along much longer lateral well segments, and keep the fracks open so more resources flow, he said.
"My challenge to the organization was to double recoveries and to find technologies that could unlock that," Woods said. "There is still a lot of oil being left on the ground."
In December, Exxon set a new goal to reach between 900,000 barrels per day and 1 million barrels per day in the Permian by 2027, with 9% to 11% production growth there this year.
Woods said developing technology in-house ultimately will allow Exxon to better identify acquisition targets.
"It is not a consolidated field yet," Woods said, adding that the strategy creates "a bigger and bigger deal space."