By Sabrina Valle
HOUSTON (Reuters) -The former head of Exxon Mobil’s shale oil and gas business will return as senior vice president over the company’s most important U.S. oil operation following his successor’s arrest earlier this month.
Bart Cahir, who was promoted a year ago to run an internal services unit called Global Business Solutions, will do a second turn as senior vice president of Upstream Unconventional, effective on Nov. 1, Exxon confirmed on Monday.
Exxon has been shopping for a new shale executive following its $59.5 billion deal for Pioneer Natural Resources and the arrest this month on a sexual assault charge of David Scott, who had replaced Cahir.
Cahir has previously run Exxon’s shale business including its XTO unit as senior vice president of Unconventional from July 2020 through April 2022. Unconventional is Exxon’s term for shale oil and gas.
He takes over a multibillion-dollar business that is expected to expand rapidly with the Pioneer deal. That purchase will bring Exxon’s shale output to 1.3 million barrels of oil and gas (boepd), more than a quarter of its overall production.
Exxon aims to get U.S. shale volumes to 2 million boepd by 2027, from about 620,000 boepd today.
The merger will combine Pioneer’s about 850,000 net acres in the Midland portion of the top U.S. shale field with Exxon’s 570,000 acres in the Delaware and Midland portions.
Cahir led Exxon’s Unconventional unit as senior vice president as Exxon implemented tough costs cuts following the collapse of oil and gas prices during the pandemic.
In a 2020 Linkedin.com post, Cahir lamented that Exxon had cut thousands of “smart, hardworking and incredibly professional” staff during the price collapse, encouraging other companies to hire them.
Former shale boss Scott appeared before a Texas judge last week on second-degree felony sexual assault. Scott, who had been released on a $30,000 bond, did not comment. His attorney also declined to comment when approached by a Reuters reporter outside the court last week.
Prominent criminal defense attorney Dan Cogdell is representing Scott. Cogdell was part of the legal team that defended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in his impeachment trial. Paxton was acquitted.
Exxon has said that Scott would not have work responsibilities pending the investigation. He did not enter a plea before the court, and the case was rescheduled to Nov. 29, according to court records.
Exxon did not immediately comment under which terms Scott could resume operational duties.
(Reporting by Sabrina Valle and Erwin Seba; Editing by David Gregorio and Jonathan Oatis)