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Exxon launches U.S. shale gas sale to kick-start stalled divestitures


Exxon Mobil Corp has begun marketing U.S. shale gas properties as it ramps up a long-stalled program that aims to raise billions of dollars to shed unwanted assets and reduce debt taken on last year, writes a report from Reuters. Three years ago, the top U.S. oil producer set a goal of raising $15 billion from sales by December 2021. More recently, it promised to accelerate lagging sales to whittle a record $70 billion debt pile.

The company’s XTO Energy shale unit is seeking buyers for almost 5,000 natural gas wells in the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas. The assets are among gas projects with declining production and market value Exxon is selling as it focus on newer ventures in Guyana, offshore Brazil and Texas’s Permian Basin. Exxon is marketing the properties itself and aims to receive bids by Sept. 16 and close any sale by year-end.

The company has achieved about a third of its three-year, $15 billion sales target. This year, it has received sales proceeds of $557 million through June, and has deals pending valued at more than $2.15 billion.

Exxon, which suffered a historic $22.4 billion loss in 2020, is selling dozens of properties in Asia, Africa, the United States and Europe.

This June, the Romanian oil and gas company Romgaz has signed a 4-months exclusivity agreement with ExxonMobil’s subsidiary in Romania for the acquisition of a Black Sea offshore block. The oil major’s Romanian subsidiary holds a 50 per cent stake in the XIX Neptun Deep Block in the Black Sea. The other 50 per cent stake in the block is held by OMV Petrom. Romgaz filed a takeover offer for ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania Limited back in March. Negotiations are influenced by the plans the Romanian authorities announced to change the offshore legislation and fiscal regime.

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