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ExxonMobil to Divest Papua New Guinea Field Stake to Santos


Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM, along with its partners in the P’nyang natural gas field in Papua New Guinea recently agreed to divest a stake to an Australian energy company Santos Ltd. Per a binding letter of intent signed between the companies, Santos will become a 14.3% stakeholder in the Petroleum Retention Licence 3 for $187 million.

The deal — expected to close by the end of June 2019 — will likely support the planned expansion of ExxonMobil-operated $19 billion PNG LNG project. Santos already holds 13.5% stake in the PNG LNG project.

Another partner in the PNG LNG project, Oil Search Limited — which will vend a 1.65% interest in the field for $21.6 million — will now hold 36.86% stake in the field. Notably, the same amount of interest will likely be held by ExxonMobil, following the completion of the transaction. Also, a bunker brokerage firm, Merlin Petroleum, will own 11.96% stake in the field.

ExxonMobil will add one more LNG train in the facility to increase the unit’s capacity by 2.7 metric tons per annum. Currently, the project’s annual output is 8 million tons of LNG, which is exported to four major customers in the Asia region, including China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation SNP, CPC Corporation and others. Notably, the P’nyang field has 2C resource of around 4.4 trillion cubic feet.

Irving, TX-based ExxonMobil is the world’s largest publicly-traded oil company that is engaged in oil and natural gas exploration and production, petroleum products’ refining and marketing, chemicals manufacture, along with other energy-related businesses. It has lost 6.1% in the past year compared with 14.1% collective decline of the industry it belongs to.

Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider

The company currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked players in the energy space include Hess Corp. HES and Cactus, Inc. WHD. While Hess sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Cactus holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Hess’ earnings are expected to grow more than 115% through 2019.

Cactus’ earnings growth is projected at 11.8% through 2019.

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