Exxon Mobil's CEO predicted oil prices will climb even higher and lead to more investment.
"They always say the cure to high prices is high prices," Darren Woods told the Financial Times.
The energy giant plans to spend $20 billion to $25 billion a year through 2027 on oil and gas projects.
Exxon Mobil's CEO thinks oil prices have room to climb higher before they push companies to invest more on increased production.
Brent crude rose 1.2% to $116.42 a barrel on Tuesday and has soared nearly 50% so far this year amid resurgent demand, limited growth in output, and Russia's war on Ukraine.
"They always say the cure to high prices is high prices. And that's exactly what I think we'll see," Darren Woods told the Financial Times. "So it's a question of how high prices eventually rise."
For its part, the energy giant plans to spend $20 billion to $25 billion a year through 2027 on oil and gas projects.
While that is down from its pre-COVID forecast of $30 billion or more of annual investments, Exxon Mobil has resisted calls to reduce its oil production like competitors Shell and BP, and even plans large oil projects in the US and Brazil.
But the rush to clean energy, Woods said, is what left the market ill-prepared to meet the current landscape of exceptional demand. Even if world powers want to move to cut ties with oil, "you need a fairly robust set of alternative solutions if you're going to reliably and affordably meet the needs of the people," he added.
And the flow of new oil projects is slower than the past, Woods said, due in large part to companies worrying about the long-term ramifications of a renewed commitment to fossil fuels amid the shift toward renewables and clean energy.
"These are multibillion-dollars investments with long time horizons," he said. "How do you think about that with the uncertainty associated with the transition? That is a difficult balance to strike."
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