Exxon Seeks Exit From Romanian Find: Press
ExxonMobil is seeking to pull out of a major gas project off the coast of Romania, local news outlet G4media.ro reported on July 15.
Citing industry sources, G4media.ro said the US major had notified the Romanian government and the country’s national agency for mineral resources (ANRE) that it wanted to share data on the Neptun Deep gas field with other companies, in preparation for a sale.
ExxonMobil operates the deepwater site through a 50:50 joint venture with OMV Petrom, the Romanian arm of Austria’s OMV. Both OMV Petrom and US investment fund Carlyle Group, the developer of the nearby Midia Gas Development (MGD), are interested in purchasing Exxon’s stake, G4media.ro reported.
Neptun Deep was discovered in 2012, with OMV Petrom and ExxonMobil initially estimating the find to contain up to 84bn m³ of gas. The pair had planned to take a final investment decision (FID) on its development last year, having spent almost $2bn to prepare the project for production. This step was not taken however, with OMV Petrom attributing its caution to recent tax hikes in Romania, as well as caps introduced on domestic gas prices.
ExxonMobil has plans to sell $15bn in non-core assets by 2021 in order to focus more on its US operations. It is currently considering the sale of all its remaining interests in offshore fields in Norway. Asked about the Romanian sale, an ExxonMobil spokesman told NGW the company had a policy of not commenting on market speculation.