Exxon Mobil plans to sell its stake in the oil fields of the United Kingdom and the northern North Sea for more than $1 billion as the nation’s largest oil company continues to streamline its portfolio to focus on projects delivering the highest returns.
The Irving oil major on Wednesday said it signed an agreement with HitecVision through its wholly owned portfolio company NEO Energy to sell ownership interests in 14 oilfields operated primarily by Royal Dutch Shell, other oilfields operated by French oil major Total and interests in the associated infrastructure. Exxon said these oilfields produced about 38,000 barrels of oil and natural gas per day in 2019.
The sale is expected to close by midyear, and is subject to regulatory and third-party approvals. If oil and gas prices rise, Exxon could see additional payments of about $300 million, the company said.
“We continue to high-grade our portfolio by divesting assets that are less strategic and focusing our investments on our advantaged projects that are among the best in the industry,” Neil Chapman, Exxon’s senior vice president, said in a statement.
In the wake of the worst oil bust in decades, Exxon has renewed its focus on developing oil and gas projects that deliver projects even at low oil profits to maintain a healthy bottom line and the hallmark of its blue chip stock: the shareholder dividend. In response to the pandemic-driven oil crash, the oil major is laying off 15 percent of its global workforce, stopped contributing to its employee retirement accounts and slashed its operating and capital budgets.
Exxon on Wednesday said it will retain its non-operated share in oil and gas production assets in the southern North Sea and its share in the Shell Esso gas and liquids projects that supplies ethane to the company’s Fife ethylene plant.
Exxon has operated in the U.K. for more than 135 years and will continue its natural gas sales, refining and chemical operations, the marketing of lubricants and petrochemicals and the marketing of fuels through its more than 1,300 independently-owned Esso-branded fuel stations.
Realated News: NEO Energy snaps up ExxonMobil’s North Sea assets for $1bn
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