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Supermajor Looks To Dump $25 Billion In Oil And Gas Assets

U.S. supermajor ExxonMobil is considerably increasing its asset sales program, expecting to shed oil and gas assets in Asia, Europe, and Africa worth up to US$25 billion, in order to free up cash to invest in its core projects such as the Permian and Guyana, Reuters reported on Thursday, quoting banking sources.  

Exxon has an official target to sell US$15 billion worth of non-strategic assets by 2021. As at the end of Q3 2019, the supermajor had reached nearly one-third of its US$15-billion asset sale target, chairman and chief executive officer Darren Woods said in the Q3 results release earlier this month.

Now, as Exxon is focusing on the Permian, Guyana, Mozambique, and Papua New Guinea, the oil and gas major is looking to sell more assets and has included assets up for sale in at least 11 countries worldwide, according to Reuters’ sources.  

In September this year, ExxonMobil signed a deal to sell its non-operated upstream assets in Norway to Vår Energi AS for US$4.5 billion.

The supermajor is also said to be looking to sell its assets in the UK, which will make it the latest U.S. oil company to quit the UK North Sea.

Related: Gas Prices Languish As Storage Falls To Near-Record Lows

Reuters estimates show that Exxon is also looking to sell onshore gas assets in Germany, a stake in an offshore project in Romania, stakes in fields in Nigeria, the whole stake in a field in Chad, an exit from Equatorial Guinea, assets in Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, and Azerbaijan. Exxon is also in talks to sell stakes in several fields in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to Rystad Energy’s estimates, Exxon could raise up to US$2 billion from the UK North Sea, up to US$2 billion from assets in the Gulf of Mexico, up to US$3 billion each from the Gippsland basin in Australia and from an exit from Malaysia, below US$1 billion from Blue Whale in Vietnam, up to US$3 billion from assets in Nigeria, and up to US$1.3 billion from Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli in Azerbaijan.

Earlier this week, Moody’s changed its outlook on Exxon to ‘negative’ from ‘stable’, expecting negative free cash flow to continue in 2020 and 2021, even if the supermajor hits its official US$15-billion asset sale target by 2021.

“The company’s high level of growth capital investments cannot be funded with operating cash flow and asset sales at projected levels given ExxonMobil’s substantial dividend payout, absent meaningfully higher commodity prices and earnings from downstream and chemicals,” Moody’s said. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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