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Exxon eyes Equatorial Guinea assets as part of $25B divestment plan

Exxon Mobil Corp. is in early discussions to sell oil assets in Equatorial Guinea in Africa, as the supermajor ramps up its efforts to divest $15 billion by 2021 and $25 billion by the middle of the decade.

"We are providing information to third parties that may have an interest in these assets, but no agreements have been reached and no buyer has been identified," Exxon spokesman Todd Spitler said in a Jan. 13 email.

Spitler, who would not comment on which assets Exxon is considering selling in Equatorial Guinea, said any divestitures will not impact the company's exploration activities in the country located on the west coast of Africa.

A Jan. 12 article in the Wall Street Journal said a sale could include Exxon's operating interest in the Zafiro field, which produces around 100,000 barrels per day.

In September 2019, Exxon kicked off its wider divestiture plan in earnest, inking a deal to sell nonoperated upstream oil and gas interests in Norway to Eni SpA subsidiary Vår Energi AS for $4.5 billion. That sale closed in December 2019.

Exxon is reportedly considering an exit from the Neptun deep offshore gas project in the Black Sea and also plans to divest holdings in Malaysia and Australia, including a 50% stake in the Bass Strait JV and a 32.5% operating interest in the Kipper Tuna Turrum offshore project.

Wood Mackenzie analysts said previously that Exxon may decide to unload assets across Asia Pacific, including its 50% operating interest in Gas PSC and 78% operating stake in EPMI 2008 PSC in Malaysia; a 10% stake in Sinphuhorm and 80% operating interest in Nam Phong in Thailand; a 63.7% operating stake in Cai Voi Xanh in Vietnam; and a 50% interest in Cepu in Indonesia.

Like many of its peers, Exxon is looking to high grade its portfolio and shed aging, noncore assets to focus on investments in more prolific production areas around the world, including the U.S. Permian basin.

Exxon is already well invested in U.S. shale. The Texas-based energy giant plans to spend $33 billion to $35 billion this year, with a large chunk of that total to be used to increase production in the Permian Basin to 1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the next five years.