TotalEnergies Reiterates Plan to Exit Onshore N’Delta

*Exxon Mobil to leave E’Guinea after nearly three decades

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

TotalEnergies is shortly expected to unveil a deal to offload its oil assets onshore Nigeria, with buyers already in place, while keeping control of gas resources in the Niger Delta, the oil firm has reiterated.

This move follows last month’s announcement by Shell to sell its Nigerian onshore subsidiary to Renaissance, a consortium of five companies based in Nigeria and one in Switzerland, for up to $2.4 billion.The firm said that buyers were already lined up to buy the assets while natural gas will be retained, according to Upstream online.Last year, TotalEnergies said  it will put up for sale its minority stake in a Nigerian oil joint venture, joining the exodus of supermajors from onshore fields in Africa’s largest crude producer.

The French energy giant said it will look to offload its 10 per cent interest in a firm that holds 20 onshore and shallow water permits in the West African country, Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne.Oil majors have been selling onshore and shallow water assets to Nigerian independent producers for more than a decade.International firms want to focus on deep-water fields away from the difficulties of operating in close proximity with local communities.

Total also operates four other onshore and shallow water licenses in Nigeria. “Disruption of local communities are sources of great concerns” in the country, TotalEnergies Chief Executive Officer, Pouyanne said at the time as reported by Bloomberg.The other shareholders in the joint venture are the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Co., which holds the majority stake, and Eni SpA, which has yet to reveal if it intends to sell its interest.

Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil Corporation plans to leave Equatorial Guinea within months, marking an end to almost three decades of oil drilling that transformed the small West African nation into an Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member.Exxon will transfer investments in the country to the government during the second quarter, the company said in an email. “Our focus now is on a safe handover of operations and caring for all impacted by this change,” it said.

Equatorial Guinea became one of the world’s hottest oil provinces around the turn of the century after discoveries by Mobil Corp. Dating to the mid-1990s   began to yield significant volumes of crude, Bloomberg reported.Production boomed after Exxon’s takeover of Mobil in 1999 but over the years the coastal nation’s output has plunged more than 80 per cent as gushers dried up and foreign investment waned.

The decision to leave is “consistent with ExxonMobil’s long-term strategy,” the company said. Chief Executive Officer, Darren Woods, has reduced capital spending around the world to focus on the fastest-growing, lowest-cost opportunities in places like Guyana and the US Permian Basin.Equatorial Guinea’s oil boom enriched the ruling elite, including President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who seized power in 1979, established political ties with the US and gave the country one of the highest rates of gross domestic product per capita in Africa.

Yet, after decades of oil production, it has some of the continent’s worst social indicators and a poor human rights record.Exxon’s key asset is the Zafiro field, which produced more than 1 billion barrels over more than 20 years.

In 2022, Exxon announced plans to retire the field’s platform after it was shut down due to a safety incident. Before the shutdown, Exxon was pumping about 45,000 barrels a day from the field, a fraction of the 3.8 million barrels a day it produces globally.