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ExxonMobil down as Permian capex increases

US supermajor posts weaker bottom line but production appreciably up in second quarter

ExxonMobil posted a reduced profit in the second quarter as capital expenditure in the Permian basin weighed, but production soared mainly due to a better performance in the same US shale basin.

The US supermajor also confirmed that estimated recoverable resources on its prolific Stabroek block off Guyana have been increased to more than 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent, while reaffirming that a final investment decision on its Area 4 liquefied natural gas project in Mozambique is expected by the end of the year.

Hammerhead to the fore as Stabroek resources hiked

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Irving, Texas-based ExxonMobil posted net profit of $3.13 billion in the three months to the end of June, well down on the $3.95 billion a year earlier.

Revenues also dropped, hitting $69.09 billion from $73.5 billion due to a drop in average realised oil and gas prices year-on-year.

Total production, however, soared 7% to 3.91 million barrels of oil equivalent per day from 3.65 million boepd.

The driving force was the Permian, where output from the core shale basin helped push total liquids production up 8% to 2.39 million barrels per day from 2.21 million bpd.

The Permian's influence could be seen in the growth in US liquids production to 662,000 bpd from 543,000 bpd.

Liquids production was also up in Asia, flat in Australia/Oceania and down in Europe and Africa.

Apart from the Permian, liquids production growth came from a ramp-up at its operated Hebron development off eastern Canada, while the growth was partially offset by increased planned maintenance.

Budget-busting bids send ExxonMobil back to market for revised Rovuma LNG offers

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In Canada and elsewhere in the Americas, liquids output was up to 469,000 bpd from 391,000 bpd.

Natural gas output was up 5% worldwide to 9.12 billion cubic feet per day from 8.61 Bcfd.

Capital and exploratory expenses leaped 22% to $8.08 billion from $6.63 billion, with spending in the Permian accounting mainly for the rise. Permian unconventional development was up nearly 90% year-on-year.

ExxonMobil said a final investment decision on the first phase of the Rovuma LNG development in Area 4 in Mozambique is still set for this year. The first phase involves two trains with combined capacity of more than 15 million tonnes per annum.

US independent Hess had revealed earlier this week that Stabroek resources had been increased from 5.5 billion boe to more than 6 billion boe, in part due to successful appraisals on the Hammerhead discovery on the block off Guyana. ExxonMobil reaffirmed the new target on Friday without disclosing any further information.

ExxonMobil is pursing a project on its operated Block 15 off Angola where the licence was extended in the second quarter out to 2032. The partners on the block aim to increase output by around 40,000 bpd.

ExxonMobil to target Vaca Muerta expansion

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The company is also proceeding with an expansion project on its Vaca Muerta shale acreage in Argentina, where gross production is expected to hit up to 55,000 boepd within five years. The development will include 90 wells, a central production facility and export infrastructure.

In Namibia, the company added around 7 million net acres across four offshore blocks, with expectations for exploration activities such as acquisition of seismic data and analysis to begin in 2019.

The blocks lie about 215 kilometres offshore in water depths of up to 4000 metres.

ExxonMobil will operate the 1710 and 1810 blocks with a 90% interest, while stat eplayer Namcor holds the remaining 10% stake. The supermajor said it would assign 5% of its interest to a local Namibian company.

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