ExxonMobil’s head of shale arrested for alleged sexual assault

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The head of ExxonMobil’s shale oil and gas business, which is central to the energy giant’s biggest takeover in decades, has been arrested on allegations of sexual assault.

David Scott, vice-president of Exxon’s upstream unconventional unit, was arrested on Thursday with his bail set at $30,000, according to records at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas, which showed he faces accusations of second-degree felony assault.

The 49-year-old has been with Exxon for more than 26 years, according to his LinkedIn profile, working up through the company’s Australian operations before taking on leadership roles across its international businesses in the UK, United Arab Emirates and Angola.

Scott did not immediately reply to a message to his LinkedIn account.

Exxon said in a statement it was aware of the allegations and could not comment publicly on a personal matter. But it said “this individual will not continue work responsibilities” as the investigation proceeds.

“All ExxonMobil employees, officers and directors are accountable for observing the highest standards of integrity and code of conduct in support of the company’s business and otherwise,” Exxon’s statement added.

Scott’s role includes oversight of Exxon’s operations in the sprawling Permian Basin, America’s most prolific oilfield stretching across Texas and New Mexico, which forms a key pillar of the company’s growth plans.

His arrest comes at a pivotal moment for Exxon as the company works on its biggest acquisition since it merged with Mobil in 1999: a deal for shale producer Pioneer Natural Resources, which is valued at more than $55bn.

A takeover of Pioneer — the biggest player in the Permian — would make Exxon the undisputed leader in the basin, accounting for about 15 per cent of total oil production.

Police records show Scott was arrested at a budget La Quinta Inn & Suites hotel near Exxon’s headquarters in Spring, Texas. The hotel manager declined to comment.

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