Dow Spotlight Energy Stock Earnings Call Insights You Must Know

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Dow component Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) recently reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Short-Term Production Delays

Evan Calio – Morgan Stanley: My question on production is for Kearl, is that weather the driver in the short-term delay in the production ramp? And should we be considering a three-quarter ramp-up to 110,000 barrels a day, I guess, exiting the year at that capacity? And then I have a second question, please.

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David S. Rosenthal – VP, IR and Secretary: Got it. The weather situation was a major factor in the startup, moving from what we had originally said by the end of the year to the first quarter. We had two things actually. One, weather came earlier than normal and then it has been just brutally cold up there, and so we’ve had to adjust accordingly. As we move through the quarter and continue progressing some of the activities I mentioned in my prepared remarks, we do expect as that first froth treatment process comes up, that’ll give us about 37,000 barrels of bitumen a day and then we’ll bring up the next two froth treatment trains kind of in sequence, and that’ll get us up to 110,000.

I don’t have a specific date for achieving the 110,000, but it’ll be later in the year as a function of progress that we make here across the winter, getting things started up safely. So the focus is getting the project up and running, getting that first production online and then moving forward and getting up to the full capacity that we’ve mentioned. And we are making really good progress this quarter, but again it’s a deliberate diligent effort to get this thing up safely, recognizing that this is a multi-decade project and we really want to focus on getting it up right.

Evan Calio – Morgan Stanley: My second question really relates to the use of rail for oil movement in North America. I know that Exxon has a large existing railcar fleet, a diversified and growing liquid footprint. Yet, I also read a report recently that Exxon’s placed a significant railcar order, recently. I’m just wondering if you see rail as a potential solution for Canadian barrel production in the event maybe the Keystone is delayed or denied or if you have other kind of specified or contemplated use for rail as a bit more permanent solution for oil movement in North America?

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