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.


Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

Updated 20 October 2019

Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

  • Dubai prepares for eye-catching countdown on Burj Khalifa
  • Live performances from singer Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer and Expo 2020 ambassador Hussain Al-Jassmi

DUBAI: Crowds gathered at different locations in the UAE on Sunday night to mark its one-year countdown to Expo 2020 in October next year, with host emirates Dubai staging a spectacular concert, topped by a light projection on the iconic Burj Khalifa.

American superstar Mariah Carey was the star of the night, which also saw performances from regional artists including Khalifa, Shamma Hamdan, Abri and Funk Radius, Showcase and Jaysus Zain. The audience also grooved to a few Arabic tunes from Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi.

A make-shift stage was set up at the Burj Park in Dubai’s downtown area to host the performances, while people also enjoyed a good view of the tallest building in the world. The countdown was facilitated by Emirati social media sensation Khalid Al-Ameri and Bollywood actress Shraddah Kapoor. 

A 3-minute firework display lit up the skies of Dubai as the crowd eagerly waited for Carey to appear on stage.

The 49-year-old singer sang her all-time favorite songs, including “Emotion,” “We Belong Together,” and a revival of the Motown classic “I’ll Be There,” to an enthusiastic audience who didn’t mind the heat and humidity at the outdoor venue.

The other six emirates also marked the occasion with free-for-all activities in venues such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, Ajman Museum, Umm Al Quwain Corniche, Al Qawasim Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Fort.

The events, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Expo 2020 Director-General Reem Al-Hashimy said, will “offer a window into the once-in-a-lifetime celebration that awaits from October 20, 2020.”

“The next 12 months will see us put the finishing touches to ensure an exceptional World Expo,” she added, in a report by state-run WAM.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi featured YouTube sensation Sandra Sahi, as well as singers Stephon Lemar, Layla Kardan, the Emirati Trio.

Indian band ROOH, singer and pianist Clarita de Quiroz, Egyptian oud player Rami Zaki and other regional artists were celebrating the count down at Sharjah’s Al Marjaz waterfront.

While the Ajman Museum hosted Arabic fusion band, pop-rock musician Hydyy, Emirati soul singer Chakram, poet Storm Fernandes, artist Humaira Hussain and MC Mohammed Enaba.

The 6-month Expo 2020, to be held at a vast new site in the south of Dubai, will officially open on Oct. 20 next year, with organizers expecting an estimate of 25 million visitors.