January 29, 2018 / 8:45 PM / a year ago

U.S. tax reform may spur new expansion projects - Exxon chief‍​

HOUSTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp is considering major new U.S. investments in light of the nation's tax reform that slashed corporate income taxes, the company's chief executive said on Monday.

Darren Woods, head of the nation's largest publicly traded energy company, said in a blog post that Exxon expects to spend $50 billion in U.S. expansion projects over the next five years. It also is "actively evaluating" projects now in planning stages as a result of new tax and regulatory changes, he wrote.

Exxon previously pledged tens of billions of dollars for U.S. refining, petrochemical and shale exploration efforts. Last spring, it laid out a $20 billion investment in its U.S. Gulf Coast chemical and oil refining operations through 2022.

It also is increasing investment in its West Texas and New Mexico shale operations, and moving ahead on a $10 billion petrochemical complex with Saudi Basic Industries Corp in Texas.

An Exxon spokesman could not immediately say how much of the $50 billion in investments was included in prior disclosures.

The Trump administration signed into law a tax reform package that cut top corporate income rates to 21 percent from 35 percent and allowed for immediate expensing for capital costs of projects.

"The recent changes to the U.S. corporate tax rate coupled with smarter regulation create an environment for future capital investments," Woods said, adding it is reviewing "the impact of the lower tax rate on the economics of several other projects currently in the planning stages." ‍​ (Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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