Exxon eyes UK North Sea exit after 50-year presence

Exxon is planning to focus on its shale projects in the US. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 13 August 2019

Exxon eyes UK North Sea exit after 50-year presence

  • Exxon has held talks with a number of North Sea operators to gauge interest in some or all of its assets
  • Leaving the British North Sea would mark a major retreat from Europe

LONDON: Exxon Mobil is considering an exit from the British North Sea after more than 50 years in the oil and gas basin as it focuses on US shale production and new projects.
The world’s largest publicly traded energy company, Exxon has held talks with a number of North Sea operators in recent weeks to gauge interest in some or all of its assets, which could fetch up to $2 billion, according to three industry sources with knowledge of the matter.
Exxon declined to comment.
Leaving the British North Sea would mark a major retreat from Europe for Irving, Texas headquartered Exxon, which has already put its Norwegian offshore assets on the block.
It would follow similar moves by US rivals Chevron and ConocoPhillips which earlier this year sold the bulk of their North Sea operations.
Exxon’s operations are managed through a 50-50 joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell, known as Esso Exploration and Production UK, and include interests in nearly 40 oil and gas fields.
Shell declined to comment.
Exxon produces around 80,000 barrels of oil and 441 million cubic feet of gas a day in the British North Sea, according to its website.
Potential buyers could include large private equity-backed North Sea producers such as Chrysaor or Neptune which have acquired portfolios from veteran producers in recent years.
Should the direct discussions with potential buyers not yield a result, Exxon will consider appointing an external bank to run a formal sale process, two of the sources added.
Esso has been producing gas since 1968 and oil since 1976 including from the Brent field, which is eponymous with the global crude benchmark.
Exxon’s operational focal point in recent years has turned to the United States, where it is rapidly ramping up oil production in the Permian Basin, as well as in Guyana, where it is developing huge, untapped fields.


US President Trump does not want to do business with China’s Huawei

Updated 19 August 2019

US President Trump does not want to do business with China’s Huawei

  • US Commerce Department expected to extend a reprieve that permits Huawei to buy supplies from US companies to service its customers

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Sunday said he did not want the United States to do business with China’s Huawei even as the administration weighs whether to extend a grace period for the company.
Reuters and other media outlets reported on Friday that the US Commerce Department is expected to extend a reprieve given to Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. that permits the Chinese firm to buy supplies from US companies so that it can service existing customers.
The “temporary general license” will be extended for Huawei for 90 days, Reuters reported, citing two sources familiar with the situation.
On Sunday, Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One in New Jersey that he did not want to do business with Huawei for national security reasons.
He said there were small parts of Huawei’s business that could be exempted from a broader ban, but that it would be “very complicated.” He did not say whether his administration would extend the “temporary general license.”
Speaking earlier on Sunday, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow said the Commerce department would extend the Huawei licensing process for three months as a gesture of “good faith” amid broader trade negotiations with China.
“We’re giving a break to our own companies for three months,” Kudlow said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”