The Securities and Exchange Commission launched an investigation by Exxon Mobil Corp. after an employee filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that the energy giant had sold one of its most important oil and gas properties, according to people familiar with the case Overthrown.
Many involved in the pricing of a major asset in the Permian Basin, which is currently the highest-producing US oilfield, complained during an internal assessment in 2019 that employees were forced to use unrealistic assumptions about it It was being forced how quickly the company could drill wells. A higher price, according to a copy of the complaint, which was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
According to a person familiar with the case, at least one of the employees was fired last year. The Journal previously reported that there was an internal disagreement on the evaluation.
The SEC began investigating the claims after receiving the complaint, people familiar with the case said. The current status of the investigation is unknown. A spokesperson for the SEC declined to comment.
Exxon spokesman Casey Norton declined to comment on the existence of an investigation. He said that if asked by officials about the 2019 assessment, Exxon would provide information that showed that Exxon’s actual performance exceeded drilling estimates. Mr. Norton also said that Exxon does not comment on employees’ performance.