ExxonMobil cherry-picks bidders for Malaysian assets: Bloomberg

ExxonMobil has shortlisted EnQuest and Hibiscus Petroleum, among others, to submit binding bids for the offshore oil assets put on the block last year as part of a global divestment programme, Bloomberg reported.

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Sources close to the process told the news provider there is no guarantee the cherry-picked, interested parties would actually table an offer and noted talks are ongoing.

No further information was disclosed and representatives for the three companies named in the report declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg.

ExxonMobil is one of the major crude oil producers and suppliers of natural gas in Malaysia and operates under four production sharing contracts (PSCs) with the Malaysian national oil company Petronas.

According to its website, the group produces about one-fifth of oil and roughly one-half of natural gas supplies to the country.

ExxonMobil’s annual 2019 report indicates its Malaysian PSCs with terms ranging up to 38 years covered 2.40 million net acres offshore at year-end.

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Bloomberg noted assets include a 30.0 per cent stake in the Tapis Blend operations, which produce a low-sulphur crude that was once a benchmark for Asian oil refiners.

The news provider first reported the potential USD 2.00 billion to USD 3.00 billion sale in October 2019, saying it was the latest development in a planned USD 15.00 billion divestment programme.

Just a month earlier, Exxon Mobil had reached an agreement to offload its operations in Norway to Var Energi for USD 4.50 billion in cash.

Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk, shows 519 deals targeting companies based in Malaysia have been announced in 2020 to date.

At a potential value of between USD 2.00 billion to USD 3.00 billion, as per Bloomberg, Exxon Mobil’s divestment would be among the top 20 largest transactions targeting the country on record.

© Zephus Ltd

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