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Image: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP / Getty Images

Breaking out of a debilitating two-year slump with spectacular discoveries in Guyana, ExxonMobil announced today that it added 2.7 billion barrels of proven oil and gas reserves in 2017, replacing 183% of its production.

Why it matters: The result is relief for ExxonMobil which, for decades the standard of Big Oil, has suffered black eye after black eye for performance failures, and begun being treated by Wall Street as a mere mortal on the oil patch.

Exxon said it had 21.2 billion barrels of proven reserves at the end of 2017, 1.2 billion more than the previous year. It said that among the additions were 3.2 oil-equivalent barrels discovered offshore from Guyana, which with the find will become one of the world's newest and most surprising petro-states. This is a significant break for the company:

  • In 2016, the company's reserve replacement was 65%, down 3.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent, partly a result of low prices that made a lot of its proven oil uneconomic to produce. Under SEC rules, that disqualified this oil as booked reserves. For instance, Exxon had to write off its entire 3.5 billion-barrel bitumen project in Alberta, Canada. 
  • In 2015, Exxon replaced only 67%. 

But but but: Exxon still has a ways to go. On Feb. 2, its share price plunged when it reported 2017 earnings that fell short of expectations. Exxon shares rose slightly today, but are still 13% down from its one-year peak on Feb. 1.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

White House stands by imperiled Tanden nomination after Senate panel postpones hearing

Neera Tanden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate Homeland Security Committee is postponing a confirmation hearing scheduled Wednesday for Neera Tanden, Axios has learned, a potential death knell for President Biden's nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

The latest: Asked Wednesday afternoon whether Tanden has offered to withdraw her nomination, Psaki told reporters, "That’s not the stage we’re in." She noted that it's a "numbers game" and a "matter of getting one Republican" to support the nomination.

Acting Capitol Police chief: Officers were unsure of lethal force rules on Jan. 6

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman wrote in prepared remarks for a House hearing on Thursday that officers in her department were "unsure of when to use lethal force" during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Why it matters: Capitol Police did deploy lethal force on Jan. 6 — shooting and killing 35-year-old Ashli Babbit — but have faced questions over why officers appeared to be less forceful against pro-Trump rioters than participants in previous demonstrations, including those over Black Lives Matter and now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

United CEO is confident people will feel safe traveling again by 2022

Axios' Joann Muller and United CEO Scott Kirby. Photo: Axios

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby believes that people will feel safe traveling again by this time next year, depending on the pace of vaccinations and the government's ongoing response to the pandemic, he said at an Axios virtual event.

Why it matters: Misery for global aviation is likely to continue and hold back a broader economic recovery if nothing changes, especially with new restrictions on international border crossings. U.S. airlines carried about 60% fewer passengers in 2020 compared with 2019.