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XTO Energy

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

XTO Energy is a subsidiary of ExxonMobil. Its primary products are oil and natural gas from unconventional sources such as shale. It is based in Downtown Fort Worth, Texas.[1]

History

The company was founded in 1985 as Cross Timbers Oil Company. It went public in 1993 on the NYSE (under ticker XTO). The company changed its name in 2001 to XTO Energy Inc.[2]

In 2007, it paid Dominion Resources US$2.5 billion for of oil and gas reserves in the Rocky Mountains, Texas and southern Louisiana.[3]

In 2008 XTO acquired Hunt Petroleum Corporation for $4.2 billion.[4]

At the end of the second quarter of 2009 XTO Energy became the largest producer of natural gas in the United States.[5]

In 2009, XTO entered into an agreement with ExxonMobil to be acquired for $41 billion. The deal was approved by XTO's shareholders on June 25, 2010. As a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, the company would be named XTO Energy Incorporated and focused on global development and production of unconventional resources.[5]

The ExxonMobil buyout included XTO’s rights to 47,000 acres of a lucrative section of the Marcellus Shale. It was reported that the purchase of XTO could be nullified if Congress made hydraulic fracturing illegal, according to language in the contract. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the energy and environment subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said that he planned hearings in the next year to examine industry practices, including "some of these unconventional extraction techniques." But the practice has continued.[6]

In July 2010, XTO finalized a merger agreement with Ellora Energy, which added 46,000 acres to XTO's reserves in the Haynesville and Bossier plays of east Texas. In December 2010, XTO purchased 150,000 acres from Petrohawk in the Fayetteville Shale Trend in Arkansas, bringing XTO’s total acreage in that play to 560,000 acres, and over 10,000 wells.[7]

In June 2011, XTO completed a merger with Pittsburgh-based Phillips Resources, Inc. and TWP Inc., which added a combined 317,000 acres of leasehold in the Marcellus Shale, bringing XTO's ownership to over 700,000 acres in the second largest gas field in the world. The largest gas field, according to XTO president Jack Williams, is in the North field offshore Qatar, and "ExxonMobil is playing a key role developing that resource also."[7]

Proposed U.S. projects

In November 2011, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) held a public hearing to review a proposal from XTO Energy to remove up to 250,000 gallons of water from the Delaware River Basin for unconventional gas exploration. The water would come from Oquaga Creek near the Farnham Road bridge crossing on Route 41 in Sanford, New York.[8]

International projects

In Germany, XTO through ExxonMobil has licenses covering several million acres where the company is drilling and evaluating coalbed methane and shale gas resources. ExxonMobil also is drilling and evaluating shale gas resources in southeastern Poland, and has expressed interest in large coal bed methane and shale gas resources in Ukraine "that have not seen much exploration or evaluation."[7]

Regulatory issues and violations

In November 2010, it was reported that XTO Energy was under investigation by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) after a 13,000 gallon hydraulic fracturing fluid spill at XTO Energy's natural gas drilling site in Penn Township, Lycoming County, PA.[9]

Organizational affiliations

Energy in Depth

XTO is a funder of Energy in Depth (EID), a pro-oil-and-gas drilling industry front group formed by the American Petroleum Institute, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and dozens of additional industry organizations for the purpose of denouncing legislation proposed by Colorado U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette to regulate underground hydraulic fracturing fluids.[10]

EID is also funded by the El Paso Corporation, Occidental Petroleum, BP, Anadarko, Marathon, EnCana, Chevron, Talisman, Shell, API, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, Halliburton, Schlumberger and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.[11]

ALEC

XTO's parent company ExxonMobil is a longtime member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Randy Smith, Exxon Mobil Government Affairs Manager, represents Exxon Mobil on ALEC's corporate ("Private Enterprise") board as of 2011.[12] (Smith also sits on Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission that considers the impact of oil drilling through "fracking." [13]) According to Exxon’s 2011 corporate giving report, ALEC was listed as the recipient of $86,500, including over $12,000 for an “ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit,” which included discussion of fracking legislation.[14]

State legislation on fracking chemical disclosure that allows exclusions for "proprietary trade secrets"[15] -- creating legal loopholes for keeping some chemicals unknown -- has been linked to model legislation put forth by ExxonMobil through ALEC.[16]

Committees

XTO is a member of the Marcellus Shale Committee, which represents itself as a committee of citizens concerned about the negative consequences of natural gas drilling across the northeastern U.S., but is more accurately an industry front group for oil and gas companies created in 2008. The Marcellus Shale Committee asserts that its goal is to promote "the responsible development of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale geological formation in Pennsylvania and the enhancement of the Commonwealth's economy that can be realized by this clean-burning energy source."[17]

Personnel

Contact details

XTO Energy Inc.
810 Houston St.
Fort Worth, Texas 76102-6298
Phone 817.870.2800 or 800.299.2800
Fax 817.870.1671
Website: http://www.xtoenergy.com/

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch resources

Profiles and campaigns

External Articles

References

  1. "Contact Us." XTO Energy. Retrieved on December 8, 2009.
  2. "About XTO" XTO Energy Website, accessed March 2012.
  3. Mufson, Steven, "Dominion sells more of its oil and gas assets", Washington Post (June 5, 2007) p D04
  4. "XTO Energy to buy private firm Hunt Petroleum for $4.2B in cash/stock", Forbes (June 10, 2008). Retrieved on 2009-08-14. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "ExxonMobil and XTO complete merger", NHST Media Group (2010-06-25). Retrieved on 2010-06-27. 
  6. [1] "Local economies look for boost from natural gas exploration in region’s Marcellus shale," Adam Voster, Ocean Times Herald, December 22, 2009
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Jack Williams, "Shale Gas: The Keys to Unlocking its Full Potential: Speech by XTO President Jack Williams," ExxonMobil Website, June 14, 2011.
  8. T.J. Skolnick, "ExxonMobil Drilling Plan Threatens Drinking Water In Delaware River Basin," DeSmog Blog, June 1, 2011.
  9. Brendan DeMelle, "Exxon Fracking Fluid Spill In Pennsylvania Dumps Estimated 13,000 Gallons Into Nearby Waterways," DeSmog Blog, Nov. 28, 2010.
  10. Alexandra Kougentakis, Brad Johnson What The Frack? Gas Industry’s Multimillion-Dollar Campaign Demonizes Hydraulic Fracturing Bill, Think Progress; The Wonk Room. June 12, 2009
  11. Barry Russell, Independent Petroleum Association of America President and CEO Hydraulic Fracturing Under Attack, memo/newsletter to IPAA members, June 5, 2009
  12. Private Enterprise Board, ALEC website, accessed July 8, 2011.
  13. Eric Boehm, Marcellus shale commission will not consider severance tax
  14. Jessica Good, "Exxon Contributes $86,000 To ALEC, Which Then Helps Promote Weak Fracking Regulations," Think Progress, June 4, 2012.
  15. "Fracking Chemical Disclosure Rules," Inside Climate News chart at ProPublica, accessed April 2012.
  16. Mike McIntire, "Conservative Nonprofit Acts as a Stealth Business Lobbyist," New York Times, April 21, 2012.
  17. "About the Marcellus Shale Committee", Marcellus Shale Committee, accessed November 2009.