Exxon Mobil has today posted its third quarterly loss today and detailed deeper spending cuts to come, as the oil major reels from the Covid-19 impact on energy demand and prices. 

The largest US oil producer by volume plans to cut its capital spending for 2021 to between $16 billion to $19 billion from a planned $23 billion this year. 

It also said it was reassessing its natural gas holdings in North America and could impair around $25 billion to $30 billion - but only if it changes its long-term development plans. 

It said it is evaluating those assets this quarter. 

Exxon has not had writedowns in shale fields this year and has long said it believes demand will grow for its products as more people join the middle class globally. 

Exxon's third-quarter net loss was $680m, or 15 cents per share, compared with a profit of $3.17 billion, or 75 cents per share, a year earlier. 

The company expects to exceed capital and cash expenses reduction targets for 2020 and forecast further cuts in 2021.

This week, the US oil producer said it would cut its workforce by about 15% and kept its fourth-quarter dividend flat at 87 cents a share, signaling 2020 will be the first year since 1982 that it has not raised its shareholder payout.

Exxon was caught off guard by the sharp decline in energy prices and demand this year. 

US prices are off 39% since the start of the year and globally demand has shrunk due to the Covid-19 pandemic.