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Exxon's Norwegian asset sale could lead to $3.6B upstream gain for Q4'19

Exxon Mobil Corp. could see a $3.4 billion to $3.6 billion gain in its upstream earnings for the fourth quarter of 2019 due to its recent divestiture of nonoperated Norwegian upstream assets, according to a Jan. 3 filing with the SEC.

As part of Exxon's plan to divest $15 billion in noncore holdings by 2021, Exxon completed the $4.5 billion sale of oil and gas holdings in Norway to Vår Energi AS in early December 2019.

Exxon's upstream gain should help offset an expected slump in the Texas-based major's downstream and chemical earnings due to continued weakness in oil and natural gas prices and softer margins.

Exxon's upstream earnings in the third quarter of 2019 totaled $2.2 billion. The company reported third-quarter 2019 net earnings of $3.17 billion, or 75 cents per share, down from $6.24 billion, or $1.46 per share, in the same period of 2018.

During the company's third-quarter 2019 earnings call, Exxon executives said the oil and gas supermajor is still on schedule with an aggressive plan to increase output from the Permian Basin to 1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day as early as 2024.

Exxon will release fourth-quarter 2019 earnings results Jan. 31.