Oil Minister Denies Reports Of Exxon Leaving Nigeria

Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu has said that he isn’t aware of any plans of U.S. oil and gas supermajor ExxonMobil to exit upstream operations in OPEC’s African member.

ExxonMobil is considering selling some of its stakes in onshore and offshore fields in Nigeria, and those stakes could potentially raise US$3 billion, Reuters reported earlier this week, citing banking and industry sources.  

Exxon has recently held talks with Nigerian companies to see if there is interest in its assets in Nigeria, some of Reuters’ sources said, as the U.S. supermajor is now predominantly focused on boosting production in the Permian and developing the huge oil discoveries offshore Guyana.

Exxon is set to soon open in Nigeria the so-called data room with details about the oil and gas fields it plans to divest from, one source told Reuters.

According to the sources, Exxon officials have recently discussed with Nigerian companies stakes in onshore oil fields, in which Exxon participates in joint ventures with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The U.S. major, however, is also mulling over selling stakes in offshore oil fields.

Exxon is one of Nigeria’s largest foreign oil operators and its production in 2017 stood at 225,000 bpd.

Speaking to reporters at an oil industry event in Nigeria this week, Minister Kachikwu said, as carried by Nigerian outlet The Guardian:

“I am not aware of that. I have not been officially informed. You saw the chairman of ExxonMobil today talking about their long-term plan and he didn’t mention that.”

“Obviously, we will engage them, whether this is true or not,” the minister added.

“I am connected enough to the ExxonMobil system worldwide and I haven’t seen anything like that. It will be a bit of surprise to me and I would not believe this until I am sure,” The Guardian quoted Kachikwu as saying.

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