Exxon Mobil puts assets for sale

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As part of a broader review of its global portfolio of assets, Exxon Mobil is looking to sell its 50% stake in the Gippsland Basin oil and gas development in the Bass Strait in Australia in a sale that could fetch up to US$3bn. Analysts say that decommissioning costs could dent the price achieved.

Exxon said earlier this year it was looking to raise $15 billion from asset sales worldwide through 2021.

Potential bidders are likely to include other companies with assets in the Bass Strait, including Japan’s Mitsui & Co, Beach Energy and Cooper Energy. Given the price, analysts said companies might bid in a consortium.

Angus Rodger, research director at consultants Wood Mackenzie, says: “As a pivotal producer, we would expect interest to be strong from domestic players that wish to gain greater exposure to rising gas prices.”

Operator Exxon’s 50-50 joint venture partner is BHP Group, which declined to comment on whether it might sell its own stake or be interested in buying Exxon’s assets. A BHP spokesman says: “BHP recognises the importance of GBJV to the reliable supply of gas to the east coast domestic market and we remain committed to maintaining that supply.” BHP reported its share of output in the year to June 30 at 112 billion cubic feet of gas, 5.2 million barrels oil equivalent (mmboe) of crude oil and condensate and 5.4 mmboe of natural gas liquids.

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