Exxon Mobil CEO says oil companies were in tough position before Ukraine-Russia war

US oil closed at $119.40 on Monday

Exxon Mobil chief executive Darren Woods said Monday that oil producers are trying to ramp up production to meet demand as prices continue to soar, but that doing so was tough even before the Ukraine crisis due to lack of U.S. investment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the U.S. government has dialed back support for the industry in the canceling of the Keystone Pipeline, among other efforts. 

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Darren Woods Exxon

Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corp., speaks during the 2022 CERAWeek by S&P Global conference in Houston, Texas, on Monday, March 7, 2022.  (F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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"Exxon is working to maximize production to help fill the world's increasing demand for oil as production declines in Russia," Woods said, speaking at the CERAWeek by S&P Global conference in Houston. "These efforts coincide with Exxon's existing goals to increase production in the Permian Basin with significant equipment changes. It’s a pretty big effort, but one we’ve been on for quite some time, I know that others in the industry are pursuing similar types of objectives."

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"What you're seeing play out in the world stage today reflects the interconnectedness and challenges" of the energy industry, Woods said. "The impacts of are being felt around the world, and our industry."

Darren Woods

Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corp., during the 2022 CERAWeek by S&P Global conference in Houston, Texas, on March 7, 2022. CERAWeek returned in-person to Houston celebrating its 40th anniversary with the theme (Photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

He added that "the war underscores the need for global energy security."

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ExxonMobil announced last week that it would halt oil production in Russia and suspend new investments there after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, joining other energy giants in ceasing operations in Russia due to the attack.

But the moves come in an already-tight oil market while prices continue to surge, with U.S. crude nearing $120 a barrel and the price of gasoline in the U.S. reaching an average price of $4.065 a gallon on Monday.

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Exxon Mobile

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Meanwhile, the Biden administration is weighing a ban on importing Russian oil, but has been hesitant to do so over global supply concerns and the threat of prices soaring further.

FOX Business' David Aaron, Andrew Murray and Reuters contributed to this article.