Mobil Corp. chairman Rawleigh Warner Jr. said today he hopes to get a zoning decision by the end of the summer that will enable the petroleum giant - fifth largest U.S. industrial company - to move its U.S. operating division headquarters from New York City to Fall Church, Va.
But there has been no decision yet on whether Mobil will move its other headquarters operations and several thousand workers from Manhattan to the suburban Washington location, Warner told reporters after Mobil's annual meeting here.
Mobil "wants very much" to buy a 130-acre tract near Falls Church, on which it has an option, Warner said. When the zoning matter is "sorted out, we will then buy the land and begin a program to move . . . to that site," he added.
[Virginia highway officials have said that improvements needed at the intersection of Route 50 and Gallows Road, adjacent to the Mobil site, could be completed gradually over the next six years - which would fit into the oil company's plans to move various offices to Northern Virginia gradullay.]
Warner told Mobil stockholders earlier that as a result of heavy investments in recent years, the firm is reversing the decline in its U.S. crude oil and natural gas production of the past several years. In 1977, natural gas will turn around and "next year crude production will be up," he said.
Warner disclosed that Mobil, whose operations also include the Montgomery Ward retail chain, has allocated $2.2 billion - the largest amount in its history - for capital spending this year compared with $1.5 billion in 1976.
Close to $2 billion of the amount has been earmarked for operations of Mobil Oil Corp. he said, although spending the full amount will depend on whether the federal government opens more of the U.S. outer continental shelf to petroleum exploration.
Warner also disclosed that Mobil has not given up the idea of acquiring a newspaper. Last month, Mobil dropped consideration of buying the Long Island Press, which was closed down in March by the Newhouse chain.
Asked about Mobil's interest in buying a newspaper, Warner observed that the company "must use every reasonable means to present its side" on issues relating to the oil industry.
During the annual meeting, stockholders soundly defeated two shareholder proposals, one which would have directed company subsidiaries in South Africa to make sure that no Mobil petroleum products are supplied to Rhodesia and another calling for directors to report "within a reasonable time" on Mobil policies regarding compliance with the Arab boycott of Israel.
Warner said Mobil has a policy against supplying petroleum products to Rhodesia, adding that "we are satisfied" that the Mobil people in South Africa "are following our directives."
Warner said Mobil is opposed to any boycott that is rooted in discrimination because of race, creed or national origin. He also noted that Mobil is doing business in the United States with companies on the Arab boycott list.