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Exxon Mobil Opens Divestment Talks On Nigeria’s Oil, Gas Fields

Exxon Mobil, the U.S Texas-based company and one of Nigeria’s major upstream operating companies, has opened talks on the sale of a suite of oil and gas fields in Nigeria as it focuses on new developments in U.S. shale and Guyana.

A news report by Reuters on Tuesday indicated that already the company was exploring opportunities in its investments in the nation’s in onshore and offshore fields which, if disposed, could help it raise up to $3 billion.

The news medium while linking its story on the proposed deals to two un-named sources quoted one as saying that “Exxon is actively divesting in Nigeria” but that the company declined to comment.

Currently, the one of the largest oil and gas producers in Nigeria, has 106 operated platforms and produced about 225,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2017.

According to reports,  Exxon officials have held talks in recent weeks with several Nigerian companies to gauge their interest in the fields.

Reuters reported that one source said Exxon was soon due to open a “data room”, which would provide technical information on the fields, such as seismic and production details, in Nigeria.

A source was quoted as saying that the discussions focused on a number of onshore fields Exxon shares in joint ventures with Nigerian state oil firm NNPC, including oil mining leases 66, 68, 70 and 104. Exxon’s share of oil production in those fields reached 120,000 bpd in 2017, the last year for which data was available.

Sources hinted that the company was also weighing the possible sale of stakes in offshore fields in Nigeria as well as considering offering for sale assets in Equatorial Guinea and Chad.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had in the last decade supported a drive by domestic companies such as Oando, Seplat and Aiteo to expand their operations in the country following some international companies’, including Royal Dutch Shell, moves to  divest from the hydrocarbon resources industry their presence, due to oil spills resulting from pipeline sabotage.

Exxon recently launched the sale of its stake in Azerbaijan’s largest oilfield, which would mark its retreat from the former Soviet state after 25 years. Exxon announced earlier this year plans to boost its capital spending from $26 billion in 2018 to $30 billion in 2019 and up to $35 billion next year as it seeks to develop oilfields in Guyana and the U.S.

Similarly, the company is revving up its divestment plans from gas projects in Mozambique and the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Last month, in an analyst presentation the company said it would accelerate its divestments to around $15 billion by 2021.

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