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Why Is This Supermajor Dumping Its Aussie Assets?

Exxon has put up for sale its assets in Australia’s Gippsland Basin as part of a $15-billion divestment program, Reuters reports, quoting a company statement.

The Gippsland Basin project is a 50-50 joint venture between the U.S. supermajor and BHP and has been a major local source of oil and gas. Now, however, production is in decline and Exxon has rearranged its regional priorities.

“Exxon Mobil will be testing market interest for a number of assets worldwide, including its operated producing assets in Australia,” Exxon told Reuters.

“As a pivotal producer on the east coast...we would expect interest to be strong from domestic players that wish to gain greater exposure to rising gas prices,” Reuters quoted Wood Mackenzie research director Angus Rodger as saying.

Bloomberg notes this is the second time Exxon has tried to offload Australian assets and the Gippsland project in particular. The first attempt was dropped after 20 months with no buyer found.

Meanwhile, Exxon announced yet another discovery at the Stabroek block offshore Guyana. This is the 14th discovery in the block and adds to previously discovered potentially recoverable oil and gas reserves exceeding 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent.  The company will begin drilling a fourth well in Stabroek next month.

Guyana is one focus of attention for the supermajor and the U.S. shale patch is another. All non-core assets seem to be up for sale, with the latest deal involving Exxon’s operations in Norway. The company earlier this month struck a deal with Norwegian Var Energi for $4 billion.

A month earlier, in August, Exxon announced that it was exiting the UK’s North Sea in a move that could raise $2 billion from the sale of interests in some or all of its 40 oil and gas fields that together account for 5% of UK’s overall production.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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