HOUSTON (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) is interested in moving further into unconventional natural gas resources, the head of the company’s natural gas business said on Wednesday.
“We like to get a hold of a resource where we can apply not only our technology, but also our prowess in operations of some scale — a lot of rigs, a lot of running room,” Andrew Swiger, president of ExxonMobil Gas & Power Marketing, told the Reuters Global Energy Summit in Houston.
Unconventional resource plays are pockets of oil and gas historically unrecoverable in substances like shale. In recent years, new drilling technology and high energy prices have triggered a frenzy of activity among companies tapping into those sources that were considered too expensive and difficult to develop.
Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded company by market capitalization, has more than 300,000 acres where it is drilling for “tight gas” in the Piceance basin in Colorado.
“We continue to look for other ones that would be in that same category,” he said.
Its 70 percent-owned subsidiary Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) recently acquired 115,000 acres of exploration lands in the Horn River region of northeastern British Columbia, a region that has garnered attention for massive natural gas reserves trapped in shale rock.
Swiger also said the company remains optimistic that there will be ample demand for liquefied natural gas in the United States over the long term.
“It seems very likely that LNG is going to play an important role as we go over time,” Swiger said. “We don’t worry right now about little fluctuations in the near term, or how a market might be month to month, year to year.”
LNG shipments to the United States have dropped since last year. Two regasification terminals have opened recently and analysts say they can expect few shipments of the fuel in the foreseeable future.
Exxon has its own terminal, located on the Texas Gulf Coast, scheduled to open next year and has proposed building another off the New Jersey coast.
He said the company’s Gulf Coast terminal “is part of an integrated project — it is built for the long term... We think that North America, anchored by a foothold on the Gulf Coast of the U.S., is going to be a market that we are going to want to be in for LNG supply over a long period of time.”
(For summit blog: summitnotebook.reuters.com/)
Additional reporting by Anna Driver, editing by Leslie Gevirtz