Nigeria oil minister says Exxon not leaving

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Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resource

Reports that US oil major ExxonMobil was mulling the sale of oil and gas fields in Nigeria for up to $3 billion as the company focuses on Guyana’s Stabroek Block and investments in the US Permian Basin are untrue, according to the African nation’s oil minister.

According to a report in All Africa published on Sunday, Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resource said that no International Oil Company (IOC) is planning to exit Nigeria contrary to reports in some section of the media.

Mr Kachikwu made this known while briefing journalists after a tour of ExxonMobil Erha Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessels (FPSO) in Lagos at the weekend.

Reuters reported on April 2 that Exxon officials held talks in recent weeks with several Nigerian companies to gauge their interest in the fields. 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.

But according to All Africa, Mr. Kachikwu said that it was not possible for a company like ExxonMobil to sell off its assets for the small amount quoted in the report as its assets are worth much than that.

“I have confirmed that it is not true, there are going to be here for a long stay, they will be here over the next 50 years, they are looking for more, they are doing all kinds of things, they just begun the exploration campaign first time in four years because of the new cash call policies we put in place,” he reportedly said.

He added that ExxonMobil needs to be more aggressive with business as Bonga Southwest was almost on FID, Egina just kicked off and Agip is struggling to get Zabzaba online, All Africa reported.

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. Permian basin as well as gas projects in Mozambique and the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The company has so far found more than 5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent in Guyana and first oil from the Liza Phase 1 Development project is expected by 2020. ExxonMobil estimates that it could be producing around 750,000 barrels of oil per day in the South American country by 2025 from five developments.

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