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    ExxonMobil mulls sale of Bakken oil and gas assets: press


The company had seen Bakken as among the biggest US "growth areas" for onshore oil in 2012.

by: Callum Cyrus

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ExxonMobil mulls sale of Bakken oil and gas assets: press

ExxonMobil is looking at offloading its oil and gas assets in North Dakota's Bakken area and has reportedly seen interest from several potential buyers, Bloomberg reported on March 10.

The US major could earn as much as $5bn for the assets, Bloomberg said, and is holding final-stage talks with banks to initiate the sale process.

ExxonMobil is on a cost-cutting drive to raise as much as $9bn/yr from structural reductions by 2023. Having reversed a $22.4bn loss in 2020 with $23bn in earnings last year,  and with the rally in oil prices, ExxonMobil is now hunting for buyers. It made structural savings of $2bn during 2021, according to its fourth quarter presentation.

The US Geological Service estimates that the Bakken region may contain 4.9 trillion ft3 of associated natural gas reserves and 1.3-7.3bn barrels of undiscovered, but technically recoverable, oil reserves. 

ExxonMobil saw the prospect as one of the biggest US growth areas for onshore oil production in 2012, when it acquired an additional 196,000 acres in Bakken in North Dakota and Montana, adding around 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe)/day to its output.

Thanks to the oil price, activity in the Bakken area is gathering pace. Oasis Petroleum and Whiting Petroleum, two producers in the Bakken, said March 7 they would merge in an all-share deal that will give them an output capacity of 167,800 boe/d in the Williston Basin, where sections of the Bakken play are located.

COVID-19 significantly affected oil demand which damaged the economics of some onshore US players, but expenditure is projected to soar by 19.4% this year as the pandemic's impact wanes, reaching $83.4bn from $69.8bn in 2021, according to Rystad Energy.