New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Moves the Goalposts… Again.

Guest post by David Middleton

First it was #ExxonKnew… Debunked here, here, here, here and here.

Then it was Exxon failed to inform investors of Schneiderman’s belief that Exxon’s proved reserves would be stranded by imaginary regulations… Debunked here.

Now, Schneiderman is going after Exxon for being too conservative in booking reserves…

Exxon’s Accounting Practices Are Investigated

New York attorney general’s probe focuses on why Exxon is only oil firm not to write down value of assets amid price rout



Sept. 16, 2016 5:33 a.m. ET

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating why Exxon Mobil Corp.hasn’t written down the value of its assets, two years into a pronounced crash in oil prices.

Mr. Schneiderman’s office, which has been probing Exxon’s past knowledge of the impact of climate change and how it could affect its future business, is also examining the company’s accounting practices, according to people familiar with the matter.

An Exxon spokesman declined to comment about the investigation by the Democratic attorney general but said Exxon follows all rules and regulations.


Exxon hasn’t taken any write-downs—the only major oil producer not to do so—which has led some analysts to question its accounting practices.

The company has played down the criticism, saying it is extremely conservative in booking the value of new potential fields and wells. That reduces its exposure to write-downs if the assets later prove to be worth less than expected, it says.


Exxon Chief Executive Rex Tillerson told trade publication Energy Intelligence last year that the company has been able to avoid write-downs because it places a high burden on executives to ensure that projects can work at lower prices, and holds them accountable.

“We don’t do write-downs,” Mr. Tillerson told the publication. “We are not going to bail you out by writing it down. That is the message to our organization.”

Out of the 40 biggest publicly traded oil companies in the world, Exxon is the only one that hasn’t booked any impairments in the last 10 years, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.


The company is known for its conservatism in recognizing the value of reserves, a practice that results in lower write-downs, said Sean Heinroth, a principal in the energy practice at management consultancy A.T. Kearney. Exxon is also known for rigidly interpreting regulations and sometimes pushing back against regulators if company leaders feel their practices follow the law, he said.


Exxon has previously faced a lawsuit over its impairment practices. Plaintiffs including the Ohio state pension system alleged in a 2004 class-action suit that the company’s failure to impair its properties undercut shareholders of Mobil Corp. in the 1999 deal that combined the companies.

The suit alleged that Exxon should have seen write-downs of between $3 billion to $7 billion in the late 1990s, another period of historically low prices. It included an allegation from a former Exxon insider that the company “operated under an order” by former Chief Executive Lee Raymond that “no impairment would be recorded.”

Exxon denied the allegations. The lawsuit was dismissed because the statute of limitations on such claims had passed.

Wall Street Journal

I’ll address the last bit of nonsense first.  The Ohio state pension system was suing ExxonMobil for something they claimed Mobil didn’t do prior to the merger.  So, even if that lawsuit had any merit, it is 100% irrelevant to Schneiderman’s latest witch hunt.

Impairments and write-downs are bad, really bad… Unlike AGW, impairments and write-outs are actually worse than previously imagined.   All publicly traded companies are required to have their financial and reserve reports audited.  These reports are subject to very stringent SEC rules.  The fact that ExxonMobil managed to get through the late-1990’s and 2008 price collapses without having to book impairments or write-downs ought to serve as a pretty good clue that they are extremely conservative in booking the value of their proved reserves.

It is way passed time for ExxonMobil to do what Chevron did…

Judge Rules in RICO Trial

U.S. Federal Court finds the judgment in Ecuador a product of fraud and racketeering.

Chevron is defending itself against false allegations that it is responsible for alleged environmental and social harms in the Amazon region of Ecuador. In February 2011, an $18 billion judgment—later reduced to $9.5 billion—was rendered against Chevron by a court in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, for alleged contamination resulting from crude oil production in the region.

On March 4, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that the $9.5 billion Ecuadorian judgment was the product of fraud and racketeering activity, finding it unenforceable.

The nearly 500-page ruling (1.6 MB) finds that Steven Donziger, the lead American lawyer behind the Ecuadorian lawsuit against the company, violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), committing extortion, money laundering, wire fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, witness tampering and obstruction of justice in obtaining the Ecuadorian judgment and in trying to cover up his and his associates’ crimes.

The ruling prohibits Donziger and his associates from seeking to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment in the United States and further prohibits them from profiting from their illegal acts.



Schneiderman and his ilk are clearly engaging in fraud and racketeering activities.

Featured image borrowed from here.

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September 16, 2016 6:27 am

This is headline hunting on the part of the NY AG, not fact finding or legit investigation. In the new normal of brownie points, they get ahead by volume-based appearances and exposure like a lot of climate science today….. and Kardashians.

Reply to  Resourceguy
September 16, 2016 7:23 am

This is clearly politically motivated malfeasance.
Way past time that he was held to account.

Stephen Greene
Reply to  climategrog
September 17, 2016 5:30 am

Way pass time for the NY AG to be held to account for his harassment of Exxon, and Climate Change Realists.

Reply to  Resourceguy
September 16, 2016 9:29 am

They are being accused of being good businessman.

george e. smith
Reply to  BillW_1984
September 16, 2016 11:34 am

So if you send five ships to sea, in the hope that at least one of it will make it through to market, and then home; what is your contingency plan in case all five ships make it through ??

Reply to  Resourceguy
September 16, 2016 10:55 am

“Headline Hunting” can often result in “Politician Posturing” validating “Social License” which leads to “Loudest Mob Rules”.

Gunga Din
Reply to  PiperPaul
September 16, 2016 3:55 pm

“Headline Hunting” can often result in “Politician Posturing” validating “Social License” which leads to “Loudest Mob Rules”.

Remind anyone else of “The 97% Consensus”?

Stephen Greene
Reply to  Resourceguy
September 17, 2016 7:36 am

The NY AG’s Fellow Denier Harasser Sheldon Whitehouse Sought DOJ and IRS Prosecutions of Conservatives as well as Climate Change Deniers
It wasn’t just Obama’s Internal Revenue Service that sought to suppress conservative voices in order to help him retain the presidency in 2012.
We learned further of a dangerous enterprise involving a key Democratic Senator and the Obama Justice Department from 72 pages of Justice documents we released this week. They reveal email conversations between Department of Justice officials and the staff of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) regarding the criminal prosecution of Tea Party and other conservative groups for fanciful violation of IRS rules.
The conversations were in preparation for a briefing by Justice Department officials for Sen. Whitehouse’s staff and for a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism hearing on April 9, 2013. One internal agency email exchange indicates Sen. Whitehouse’s interest in seeking criminal prosecution of groups targeted by the IRS:
-Tom Fenton’s JW Release

Reply to  Resourceguy
September 17, 2016 1:58 pm

Carbon War Room, May 29, 2015
‘News: Clinton Climate Initiative Partners With Rocky Mountain Institute And Carbon War Room To Advance Renewable Energy In Caribbean Island Nations’ Scroll down to this article.
Rocky Mountain Institute and the Carbon War Room merged December, 2014

Reply to  Barbara
September 18, 2016 9:22 am

The Carbon War Room has a Board member who is also Greenpeace USA.

Reply to  Barbara
September 18, 2016 11:34 am

environmental LEADER, Sept.21, 2011
‘Clinton, Branson Launch Major Building Energy Efficiency Projects’
Link> “15 investors recommend an investment preference” > ‘At Clinton and UN Forums, Investors Push for Sustainability Ratings, Mandatory Impact Reporting’
Branson a founder of Carbon War Room.

Reply to  Barbara
September 18, 2016 12:50 pm

Carbon War Room
Board includes:
John Abele, resides in Vermont
Jigar Shah, 2009-March 2012, served as first CEO of the Carbon War Room. Also on the board of Greenpeace USA.

Reply to  Barbara
September 18, 2016 6:09 pm

MaRS, Toronto, Canada, March 17, 2016
“The $5-million MaRS Catalyst Fund, run by Toronto’s MaRS District and backed by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin-Unite Foundation …”
The rest at: force-for-good

Reply to  Barbara
September 19, 2016 6:32 pm

GLOBE – Net, Toronto, Canada, Nov.4, 2013
‘Planning the War on Carbon’
Scroll down to: Peter Boyd, COO of the Carbon War Room.

Reply to  Barbara
September 20, 2016 10:31 am

Rocky Mountain Institute
‘Zibi – Ottawa’s Zero Carbon Community’
RMI is associated with Hydro Ottawa, Canada.

September 16, 2016 6:28 am

He’s gone on a witch hunt and if he doesn’t come back with a witch, his job is in danger.

Dave Smith
Reply to  MarkW
September 16, 2016 6:58 am

Wired seems to be particularly obtuse on this…

Brook HURD
Reply to  Dave Smith
September 17, 2016 8:03 am

The Wired article and the side bar article gave me an impression that the authors did understand the scientific method. They pointed out that science is not based on beliefs, but rather on facts. The problem that I found in the articles is that they violated their own premises by stating that they believed that the science is settled. Their belief over facts is precisely what they were arguing against.

Reply to  MarkW
September 16, 2016 8:25 pm

Good deconstruction of Schneiderman, who might have a tiger by the tail now…
And Dave Smith’s link is a good example of the typical name-calling and demonizing of everyone they disagree with. If it weren’t for their constant ad hominem insults, these believers in the “dangerous man-made global warming” scare wouldn’t have much to say.
Whenever I see “denier” (or ‘denialist’, etc.), I know that the writer’s mind is made up and closed tighter than a submarine hatch, and facts can’t change it. Schneiderman’s faith-based belief is akin to a Jehovah’s Witness; they both trump facts and reason. The outcome should be interesting, no?

September 16, 2016 6:41 am

Re-posying this here:
Lawmakers probe tax incentives received by renewables concerns:
The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday sent letters to seven foreign and domestic companies in the solar industry, expanding a more limited probe started earlier this year.
The recipients included three firms in the residential solar industry, SolarCity Corp., Sunrun Inc. and Sungevity Inc., and four solar utility companies — SunEdison Inc., Abengoa SA, NextEra Energy Inc. and NRG Energy Inc.
A spokesman for SolarCity said the “answers to the questions posed are fairly straightforward, and we will provide them as requested.”
Officials at SunEdison, Abengoa and NRG Energy declined to comment. NextEra, Sunrun and Sungevity didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Reply to  john
September 17, 2016 5:06 pm

See News, Sept.12, 2016
‘California wildfires hurt solar revenues in peak generation season’
A 1% loss in solar power generation in a month of peak production could lead to more then USD 940,000 of lost revenues in Kern County based on a price of USD 150 per MWh.

September 16, 2016 6:52 am

Exxon hasn’t taken any write-downs because that would require foreknowledge of how the evaluation of their assets will be affected by the unpredictable actions of loose-cannon regulators, legislators, and litigators such as AG Schneiderman.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  tadchem
September 16, 2016 7:33 am

One way to guard against impairments/write downs is to use a really low floor for profitability. If you use $20/barrel as your target and evaluate your reserves accordingly then you don’t have to do anything until oil drops below $20/barrel. This may reduce shareholder value in the short term but preserve it in the long term.

Steve R
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
September 16, 2016 2:46 pm

SEC rules dont allow for that. They are really quite specific.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
September 17, 2016 9:18 am

So what are the rules? Since the price of oil changes every day, I can’t believe the SEC intends that you make a daily filing to comply.

Reply to  tadchem
September 16, 2016 7:37 am

It is more likely Exxon has a rigorous and defend-able evaluation process their assets in general. Schneidermans of the world are a constant.

Reply to  tadchem
September 16, 2016 10:07 am

The biggest loose cannon is Saudi Arabia. It kept pumping when many experts expected it to back off.
I would say that the ceiling price of oil will continue to be determined by the cost of production for fracked oil. link If Saudi backs off and the price goes up, we’ll start pumping again.

Steve Fraser
Reply to  commieBob
September 16, 2016 9:15 pm

Oh, we are pumping plenty, now. It’s just investment in new wells that,have been curtailed.

Tom Halla
September 16, 2016 7:16 am

I have seen references to Schneiderman’s association with major Democratic Party donor Tom Steyer, a notable green ideologue. I wonder just how much New York State funding is going towards Steyer’s causes.

Scott Wilmot Bennett
September 16, 2016 7:29 am

Why is Exxon being singled out, did they piss somebody off? Are they the only petrochemical producer in the US? This is the country that spawned the archetype of the “Oil Man”, whose stories are inextricable bound to the defining heart of the emerging nations mythologies. It seems absurd to even consider putting this symbol to the sword, as if it was just a passing fancy.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 16, 2016 9:07 am

It’s the deep pockets they are after. Have to pay for law school somehow, those student loan debts don’t pay themselves. Need more funding for another fish story. For at least another 23 years.

Reply to  Scott Wilmot Bennett
September 16, 2016 9:28 am

It’s all all smoke and mirrors,
I’m fairly certain that the Rockefellers and Exxon have an agreement of some sort where Exxon plays the boogieman while the Rockefellers are transitioning back to selling snake oil aka renewables. After all, Exxon is a direct decedent of Standard Oil.

John in L du B
Reply to  Scott Wilmot Bennett
September 16, 2016 12:46 pm

Depends Scott on how you rate them, e.g. by revenue (which shifts their rankings somewhat year to year) , by production, by total value (which depends on total reserves and, oh yeah, valuation of the reserves), total energy produced (oil and gas) etc…, but generally Exxon is normally ranked between 4th and 14th. The ones ranked bigger are usually, but not every year, state owned. Of course you know very well that Democrat Attorneys General cannot PO the Saudis.

September 16, 2016 7:38 am

NY AG Eric Schneiderman just wants Exxon’s money. He doesn’t really care what they’ve done, if anything, just a long as they eventually give New York State a lot of their money. It’s a legal “shakedown,” probably just to help with a budget shortage.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  ScienceABC123
September 16, 2016 9:32 am

Probably sets him up for a bigger politician position, too. Lieut gov, gov, congress…

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Michael Jankowski
September 16, 2016 10:52 am

Personal ambition and a complete absence of ethics on the part of Shneiderman are the entire story here.

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
September 16, 2016 1:56 pm

I’d be more in favor of impeach and disbar.

September 16, 2016 8:05 am

Donald Trump is going to make oil great again 😉

Mark from the Midwest
September 16, 2016 8:09 am

Take note that Schnide-or-min also has launched a probe against Trump’s charitable donations, which he claims is “not political.”
In unrelated news I have 4 sections of prime development land in South Florida, including a bridge that links them to I-75. Recent family issues force me to sell at a great discount to current market prices. To reserve your share please send your deposit check, via bank money order in the amount of 5000 USD to P.O. Box 47328, Central Post, Agyana, Nigeria 905101.

September 16, 2016 8:17 am

Let us hope Exxon stands strong. There will likely be a plea bargain agreement made by the NY, AG as a face saving means as this case unraveles. Let’s hope Exxon stands tall and rejects this offer demanding full exoneration and dropping of all charges.

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  TeeWee
September 16, 2016 8:34 am

There is no way Exxon folds, their process for evaluating assets, is transparent, defensible, and very conservative. As several posts note, above, a conservative approach to asset valuation tends to preserve shareholder value in the long run, (since big write-downs don’t happen). Exxon is not playing to today’s stock price, (with a tip of the hat to management that takes a long view), they’re in it for the long haul.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
September 16, 2016 1:51 pm

oh, man- being smart is precisely how those monopolists do! that’s why they are guilty!
this is american jurisprudence by precedent, you know.
check out some history:
“It was not inevitable that it should always anticipate increases in the demand for ingot and be prepared to supply them. Nothing compelled it to keep doubling and redoubling its capacity before others entered the field. It insists that it never excluded competitors; but we can think of no more effective exclusion than progressively to embrace each new opportunity as it opened, and to face every newcomer with new capacity already geared into a great organization, having the advantage of experience, trade connections and the elite of personnel.”
this was the ruling against Alcoa from judge Learned Hand. (not making that up)

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
September 16, 2016 4:35 pm

I’m very aware of U.S. vs Alcoa, it’s a very basic case in business law. It’s also important to recognize that it has absolutely nothing in common with the market conditions that Exxon faces, and second, there was never any sanction against Aloca due to the post war emergence of competition. If you were to apply the standard that Judge Hand applies, (and in my opinion he was a crappy justice), Microsoft would have been taken apart long ago.
Finally, what does an anti-trust case that was pursued by a socialist AG have to do with my comment regarding the process of asset valuation by Exxon?

Reply to  TeeWee
September 16, 2016 6:23 pm

” their process for evaluating assets, is transparent, defensible, and very conservative.”
i took this to imply you thought this was some sort of affirmative defense or protection
on the contrary. sound business practices that lead to success makes that business a target of
your ‘socialist AGs’, whether by antitrust or rico or other legal forms of extortion.
i’m sure you knew that, so it wasn’t an obscure comparison or irrelevant comment.
the mystery is why you pretend you did not understand it.
i’m sure you are also quite aware that copyright law grants a federal monopoly – a la microsoft –
and while that may not be a secure defense against legal extortions, it does put the damper on pursuing ‘monopolism’ as the root of all evil there.
i bet you understand that perfectly well too.
how do you find it to be irrelevant to the topic?
and finally, the court ordered divestiture. if that’s not a sanction, what is?
1950 Alcoa divested Alcan after a court ruling that came toward the end of the epic Alcoa monopolization case.
Critics deride Judge Hand’s ruling as an example of judicial activism.
See those key words? ‘judicial activism’
if that’s not relevant to the AG pursuit of RICO violations – then yeah- i’m casting pearls
here’s a lot more detail than you might care for:
notice tobacco figures into it also

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
September 16, 2016 8:19 am

How much $$ in contributions has Schneiderman taken from Soros groups?

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
September 16, 2016 11:07 pm

Exxon knows.
And probably have a lot of dirt on his fellow travelers.

Science or Fiction
September 16, 2016 8:32 am

Schneiderman is a disgrace to the profession, he is not protecting the public interest – he is misusing his power. He demonstrates that totalitarian ideas can be found everywhere – even among those who have sworn to protect the constitution.
“It can’t happen here” is always wrong: a dictatorship can happen anywhere.”
― Karl Popper, Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography

Ron Clutz
September 16, 2016 8:38 am

Schneiderman is infected with the same flimsy chain of suppositions that were voted down by Exxon shareholders:
1.Suppose an International Agreement to limit global warming to 2C.
2: Suppose Governments enact restrictions that limit use of fossil fuels.
3.Suppose that demand for oil and gas products is reduced by the high costs 
4.Suppose oil and gas reserves are stranded for lack of demand.
5.Suppose shareholders fear declining company net worth.
All of these are wishful alarmist thinking, and the last one is clearly the objective: to punish petroleum companies by scaring investors away.

Steve R
Reply to  Ron Clutz
September 16, 2016 2:57 pm

I think the SEC would have had something to say if some creative accounting scheme were concocted with the goal of scaring investors away from one of the largest companies in the US. Efforts to underprice assets are just as much of a violation as efforts to overprice them.

Steve R
Reply to  Ron Clutz
September 16, 2016 3:00 pm

Scaring investors away only punishes companies that rely on new equity for growth. All that would be accomplished by scaring away a group of investors would be to allow a new group of investors to estabish poition with a lower basis.

Ron Clutz
Reply to  Steve R
September 16, 2016 3:34 pm

Agreed. I think the idea is to somehow undermine the financial viability of oil producers and bankrupt them

September 16, 2016 8:39 am

UNEP knew:
Surely Maurice knew and UNEP knew that there was no ozone depletion globally and that is why they sold the only place they could sell – the South Pole. There should be criminal charges against them and at the least billions in lawsuits for economic losses and losses borne by taxpayers who funded their scheme.

Juan Slayton
September 16, 2016 8:39 am

Schneiderman and friends may be slowly walking back their claims, but the damage has been done in the popular media, who don’t seem to be getting the word. Take a look at the October Reader’s Disgust’, p. 107, section heading: “EXONMOBILE: OBSTRUCTED ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE”

September 16, 2016 8:45 am

A previous NY AG (Elliot Spitzer) made his reputation by accusing investment companies in NY of shady practices and threatening them with long and costly investigations if they didn’t just accept the chargesa dn pay the fines. They all did because the investigation would have been more expensive and damaging to their reputation, but it means that the accusations were never actually tested for accuracy. They may have been true, but this came across as borderline extortion.
Spitzer got to be elected Governor of NY State on the strength of this (before he resigned in sex scandal, I think) and Scheidermann thinks he can do the same. Well done Exxon for standing up to the pressure, although I don’t think they had much option as there wasn’t the option to just roll over and pay the fine as this was more about whether the company could still operate.

September 16, 2016 8:45 am

So now we’re getting closer to the truth. It’s not about climate, it’s about destroying oil companies. It has always been about “big oil”. Good luck with that. They are about to wake a sleeping giant.

Joel O’Bryan
September 16, 2016 8:48 am

This is part of a shakedown racket democratic Attorney Generals have been waging on big business. The fines they get are not tax appropriations, so there is much more incentive to use the recoveries money as a slush fund to pay Democrat’s special interests in return for inkind campaign donations and support.
Also note recently the EU wants the Irish govt to “recover” €11 Bln from Apple for taxes going back to 90’s. By coincidence, the US AG is currently trying to shakedown Deustche Bank for $14 Bln for its involvement in selling mortgage-related securities before 2008.
More demonstration why Democrats have become fundamentally dishonest and must be driven out of positions of political power by the voters if they want to preserve Capitalism and stop shakedowns by the Kleptocrat-Socialist-Democrats.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
September 16, 2016 8:50 am

transposed my t-s in Deutsche Bank.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
September 16, 2016 10:27 am

“have become”?
The only difference between now and the past, is that they no longer fear being exposed.

Brooks Hurd
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
September 17, 2016 8:41 am

As portrayed in “The Big Short” there were many players on the sub-prime loan debacle who knew that they were selling tranches of garbage which they misrepresented as low risk investments. These people made fortunes from their commissions.
In the 8 years since the markets crashed at the end of September 2008, only one minor player has spent time in prison for his crimes. The big players have not even been indicted. The DOJ went after the banks rather than the people who were responsible. This way, it could appear that the DOJ was cracking down when, in fact, they were extorting money from the big banks. This money does not appear to be flowing to victims of the 2008 debacle, but rather to the administration’s favored groups.
The DOJ and the Blue State AG’s seem to be involved in massive extortion rackets to plunder their targets.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
September 16, 2016 8:48 am

It is way passed time for ExxonMobil to do what Chevron did…

Chevron had no choice; Donziger & cronies had engineered a fr@udulent judgement in Ecuadoran courts of over $18 billion, which with two subsequent fr@udulent “reviews” was increased to over $100 billion. And in the end Chevron wimped out and settled for just getting a permanent injunction against enforcing the judgement. They got nothing for their legal costs and Donziger is free and still practising law, and probably advising Clinton on environmental policy.
See here, where I observed:

So the penalty imposed on Donziger et. al. for various RICO crimes, including fraud, extortion, false court submissions, subornation of perjury, bribery of foreign officials (just off the top of my head), is an order preventing them from collecting any portion of their fraudulent judgement in US courts, and an order that any proceeds they do collect from their fraudulent judgement (presumably in other jurisdictions) be held in a constructive trust.
This is not justice and it certainly is not a victory against Green extortion. Justice would be Donziger disbarred, all assets seized to compensate Chevron for losses and doing 20 years in Club Fed. Justice would be all the other principals in this fraud treated likewise in proportion to their involvement. Justice would be appropriate monetary judgements against allied law firms which “invested” in this suit and further disbarment proceedings where warranted.

The final (?) disposition of the case just came down August 8th of this year when an appellate court upheld the lower court decision. No word on whether there will be a further appeal.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  David Middleton
September 16, 2016 10:51 am

Good to know. I hadn’t kept up the past year or so. Anything less than disbarment is still too soft.

September 16, 2016 8:54 am
A Watermelon hit piece concerning Rep. Smith and the subpoenas he’s issued over the ExxonMobile issue. My opinion, it just boils down to a bunch of whining.

September 16, 2016 9:30 am

The U.S. government exempted banks from marking their assets to market, so why should Exxon-Mobil?

September 16, 2016 9:30 am

The U.S. government exempted banks from marking their assets to market, so why should Exxon-Mobil?

Reply to  snopercod
September 16, 2016 1:37 pm

ExxonMobile isn’t required to maintain minimum reserve requirements the way banks are.
If Exxon’s value drops because their reserve’s become less valuable, the only hit is to their stock price.
If the value of a bank’s reserve drops, they are required by law to sell assets in order to rebuild their reserves. This would cause banks to sell properties at the bottom of the market. It would have two negative aspects, cause the banks to lose millions to billions, depending on exposure, and prolong a bear market as the the pressure from the banks having to sell would put a downward pressure on prices.

September 16, 2016 10:02 am

I’m retired from XOM and I was involved in asset write downs a number of times over the course of my career. I also know they came close to having a yearend writedown of their Chadian investments about a half dozen years ago. Dodged the bullet narrowly then. They are conservative and well run. Of course, writing down an asset on the books does NOT mean that asset won’t be developed someday.

September 16, 2016 10:23 am

a) does Schneiderman not have an ‘real’ criminals to go after?
b) do the American public have the possibility for redress when an AG goes bad?

Reply to  steverichards1984
September 16, 2016 12:18 pm

A lot of corporations already voted with their feet on headquarters location, but that did not help with this problem. They could influence suppliers and bankers to follow suit. NY is not holly ground, it can be replaced and saving money for stockholders is the way to do that.

Reply to  Resourceguy
September 16, 2016 1:38 pm

It may not be holly ground, but the question remains. Is it ivy ground?

Roger Bournival
September 16, 2016 10:25 am

“Mr. Schneiderman’s office,…is also examining the company’s accounting practices, according to people familiar with the matter.”
I’d love to hear the justification on why this is the NY AG’s jurisdiction and not the SEC’s and / or FASB’s.

Roger Bournival
Reply to  David Middleton
September 16, 2016 10:35 am

Thanks, David.

Joel Snider
September 16, 2016 11:13 am

Expect continued harassment from the likes of Schneiderman on as many fronts as possible. Activists are literally programmed robots who don’t have ‘stop’ button. All you can do is break the mother board.
Really, the only way Exxon can be rid of him is if they make a point to put him behind bars themselves. And that’s the sort of thing that really needs to happen as an example to all the other witch-hunters.

Reply to  Joel Snider
September 17, 2016 12:05 pm

Hmmm. We need a Kramer-Sprenger award to go along with Pointman’s Climate Prat award. I would certainly nominate Schneiderman for 2016.

September 16, 2016 11:28 am

XOM could partner with other companies like ICE to move the stock exchange(s) out of NY. Dallas, Atlanta, or Houston would work. The banks would do well to leave also.

September 16, 2016 12:26 pm

I’m boycotting NY as long as this nut job is in office.

Richard of NZ
Reply to  Resourceguy
September 16, 2016 1:03 pm

Oil companies should boycott NY i.e. stop selling oil and oil products to NY until sense prevails.

September 16, 2016 2:43 pm

I suppose by the time this is all said and done, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will be investigating Exxon for felony typographical errors.

Reply to  H.R.
September 16, 2016 4:12 pm

Mopery. Definitely Schneiderman will investigate ExxonMobil for felony mopery. And committing a nuisance.
Can you say ‘abuse of process?’ I knew you could.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
September 16, 2016 5:17 pm

Oh, definitely mopery… mopery with intent to creep, Jorge. And if Schneiderman loses that one, he’ll appeal it all the way to the Supreme Court.
(Talk about someone who’s in a hole and refuses to stop digging!)

michael hart
September 16, 2016 3:03 pm

The company is known for its conservatism in recognizing the value of reserves,…

I guess Exxon knows they will live longer than Schneiderman, and, in this matter, they have no need to lie for short term gaijins.

Reply to  michael hart
September 16, 2016 4:21 pm

For those who don’t speak Japanese , gaijin means literally “outside person” And can have negative connotations loud , uncouth, barbarian etc, depending on the context it is used in.

David S
September 16, 2016 3:03 pm

Companies revaluation practices both up and down are always in the publicly available information. Any analyst or diligent investor will be aware of those practices and theoretical price valuations will be adjusted to take the company’s conservatism into account. This attack on Exxon by Schneiderman has morphed from ” alleged worthy cause” to personal vendetta.

September 16, 2016 4:08 pm

Now this just drifted into blatant harassment by an AG off his patch and running out of bullets fast .
Let see external auditors ,internal auditors , the tax department , and shareholders …no problem,.. All are just a teensy bit more sophisticated than some lawyer panhandling for donations throwing handfuls of dirt.
Looks like he is scrambling to find something (anything ) that might be remotely be within his job description
having initially acted , while in the employment of tax payers , as a lobbyist for competing energy providers . Did people elect this joker ? Who is his boss ? Where is the little band of AG’s now ?

Henry chance
September 16, 2016 5:26 pm

In the course of GAAP, Exxon uses independent reservoir engineers to do evaluations. They assume a well’s production will decrease. I recall when Phillips shutdown hundreds of stripper wells doing under 15 BPD when oil was down in the teens. Enron was in trouble for hiding Liabilities. Exxon assumes a large amount of gas and oil will not be pumped up. They assume Exxon is padding reserves?
The good news is as production rates fall, enhanced oil recovery technologies increase a well’s yield. I am thinking of a field with a company I won’t name that used CO2 flooding in the Permian Basin and jacked up production in an area by 17,000 BPD. I don’t know how this New York lawyer will come up with his own reserve estimates. I recall the mortgage meltdown. But many of those bundles traded at little discount of face value. Net present value. That case some co’s didn’t use risk managers. I have professional contacts that tell me who in the non majors had too much debt and questionable reserve estimates. My company offices are in a tower with a Petroleum Club. Most Independents started their careers with the majors and do farmouts.
I was in The Fairmont Hotel NOLA 1981 and the President of Mobil told me we would run out of oil in 12 years.
Price of oil is down. So are drilling costs per/day. So is the cost of leases. Drilling is down and a lot of leases expire.

Reply to  Henry chance
September 16, 2016 7:44 pm

As far as I’m concerned the price of oil should stay down. It helps the poor and the middle class (communist terms, by the way) Here is the price as of today:
Much better than $140 USD per barrel, which it once was…

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
September 16, 2016 8:52 pm

I’ve always wondered about that, too. When oil is $45/bbl that leaves a lot more left over compared with oil at $140/bbl, and the ones who benefit the most are the lowest wage earners.
But the President has a plan for that. Something about “skyrocketing”…

September 16, 2016 9:47 pm

There is something suspicious about all of this.
Recently there have been a blitz of ‘news releases’ in MSM with absurd, but CAGW related claims, e.g.:
• “How Much Will Americans Pay to Battle Climate Change?“, by Sam Ori
• “New York AG Employs Powerful Law in Exxon Probe“, by Christopher M. Matthews
• “Exxon Accounting Under Investigation — Energy Journal“, by Neanda Salvaterra
• “Cocoa Production Could Be Devastated by Climate Change, Experts Warn“, By Katherine Dunn
• “Winemakers Toil to Beat the Heat of Climate Change“, By Mike Cherney
• “Companies Might Have to Disclose Their Carbon-Related Risks“, By Elena Cherney
• “A Price on Carbon May Be Coming Soon to the U.S.“, By Amy Myers Jaffe
This is just in the pages of WSJ. There have been a multitude of articles, all seeming to be published concurrently.
While prior to this, Schneiderman was getting slapped silly and reeling constantly as a result of his disastrous collusion with activist organizations followed by Democrat AGs falsely issuing subpoenas against XOM and skeptics.
All of a sudden, Schneiderman pulls a wabbit out of his sleeve and pushes an investigation against XOM’s accounting practices.
A turnaround that smacks of discussion, brainstorming, strategic planning, coordination and now execution. A combined effort to push alarmism and alarmists just prior to the election.
It strikes me that now is again a good time to hit a number of green authors, perhaps their editors and Schneiderman’s office with FOIA requests.
Any hints about recent Rockefeller,, etc., meetings or exchanges with Schneiderman? Someone is picking up the tab for all of these interactions and articles.

Johann Wundersamer
September 16, 2016 11:55 pm

Schneiderman is riding on the wave of Deutsche Bank ‘scandal’. Instead of looking at Goldman Sachs, AIG, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
Schneiderman is riding on the wave of VW ‘scandal’. Instead of looking at EPA regulations that hinders ANY auto builders to cope with.
His just a useless politically motivated carrierist.

September 17, 2016 12:04 am

The NY AG is in serious need of an invasive fact finding colonoscopy. Its an old NY playbook which was used to launch national careers for Dewey and others.
The current AG is going further afield to appeal to a national Progressive audience. One of his more recent predecessors Elliot Spitzee shook down Wall Street to gain the Governors mansion but was forced to resign in a prostitution scandal.
Interestingly he attempted to become a media flack ending that failed experiment on Al Gore’s Current TV. This AG needs the same.

Johann Wundersamer
September 17, 2016 12:14 am

/ anybody feel free to correct me where I’m wrong, incl. my denglish. /

September 17, 2016 2:49 am

The US AG covering New York state is doing the real law enforcement work in that part of the country.. He is closing in on the green wiener Governor with a wide ranging pay-to-play corruption probe of the states largest economic development projects. Particularly the game show named Buffalo Billion scheme anchored by none other than the imploding SolarCity company of Elon Musk.
In a brazen display of raw political hubris the Governor has begun his own investigation to muddy the waters and hamstring the federal probe. While the Governor continues to tout the green projects there is little sign that promises made to the public have or will be kept. Billions spent. Empty buildings constructed. Pockets lined. A few low paying security guard jobs to watch over the deterioration for the abused taxpayers.

Reg Nelson
September 17, 2016 10:19 am

Write downs are also tax write offs, which according to Liberal logic are evil tax subsidies. The hypocrisy of the Left has no bounds.

Johann Wundersamer
September 17, 2016 8:40 pm

Such people endanger the economies of entire countries; sadly they find followers: in germany there’s already attempts to fine VW ‘like the Americans do’.

Gary Pearse
September 18, 2016 3:26 pm

Alex Epstein, founder of Center for Industrial Progress who received a subpoena from AG Healy at the same time Exxon did sent a short response: “F*** OFF, fascist”.

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