ExxonMobil released a plan Wednesday that aims to double oil company's profits by 2027 as it expands lower-emissions investments while preserving a strategy tilted towards fossil fuels.

ExxonMobil said it would maintain a "disciplined" approach to overall spending, holding its annual capital budget to between $20 billion and $25 billion through 2027, when it targets earnings twice the level of 2019.

The company is expected to spend less than $20 billion this year after slashing spending from above $30 billion annually in the years before the pandemic.

"Our strategy is designed to create shareholder value by leveraging our competitive advantages while maintaining flexibility to respond to future policy changes and technology advances associated with the energy transition," said Chief Executive Darren Woods.

ExxonMobil unveiled a plan to contain spending while boosting profits ExxonMobil unveiled a plan to contain spending while boosting profits Photo: GETTY via AFP / BRUCE BENNETT

The announcement is the latest sign giant oil companies plan a restrained approach in the face of continued uncertainty about the pandemic and calls from environmentalists to cease fossil fuel activity.

Higher gasoline prices also have become a hot-button issue in the United States. On Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki criticized "oil company CEOs bragging about the profits they make when ... gas prices go up."

On climate-related initiatives, ExxonMobil now expects to spend $15 billion on lower-emission investments through 2027, including biofuels and hydrogen. The company previously released a $3 billion plan for carbon capture and storage (CCS).

But ExxonMobil's press release also emphasized expanded crude oil exploration and production projects in Guyana, Brazil, and the Permian Basin in the United States.