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ExxonMobil (XOM) Plans to Shed Equatorial Guinea Oil Assets


Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM is planning to divest Equatorial Guinea oil properties, per the country's minister of mines and hydrocarbons, H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima. These assets are likely to be acquired by companies from Russia, the United Kingdom and Equatorial Guinea.

The assets to be sold include ExxonMobil’s operating stake at the Zafiro oil field. Notably, the field produces 90,000 barrels per day, which constitutes a significant portion of the country’s total production. The company is currently providing information to potential acquirers. The divestment move is not expected to affect the largest publicly-traded U.S. energy company’s exploration activities in the country.

Similarly, Chevron Corp. CVX, Marathon Oil Corp. MRO and Occidental Petroleum Corp. OXY are exiting African properties to reduce exposure to riskier assets. While the U.S. companies are trying to withdraw from African properties, Russian companies are looking to increase their footprint in the continent.

This divestment will likely boost ExxonMobil’s campaign to get rid of non-core assets, while streamlining its portfolio. Per reports from last November, ExxonMobil is looking to divest around $25 billion of hydrocarbon assets through 2025 in order to focus on more profitable projects. The assets to be sold — which are located in Asia, Africa and Europe — are expected to increase competitiveness of the company’s portfolio. Its latest reported divestment program targets $15-billion asset sell-off by 2021. This will likely help the company to finance growth projects in Guyana, Brazil and U.S shale plays.

Per reports, ExxonMobil recently considered leaving the Romanian Neptun Deep offshore project, which is located in the Black Sea. The project — partnered by Romanian OMV Petrom — has been delayed due to the failure of obtaining timely regulatory approvals.

Price Performance & Zacks Rank

ExxonMobil has lost 2.5% in the past year compared with 4.2% decline of the industry it belongs to. The company currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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