ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest oil companies, is now selling her assets, possibly all of them, in the North Sea near Norway according to a report:
ExxonMobil has recently discussed with operators selling part or all of its assets in the UK North Sea in a move that could raise up to US$2 billion for Exxon and mark another major U.S. exit from the area, Reuters reported this week, quoting three industry sources familiar with the matter.
Exxon has been a major investor in the UK North Sea since 1964, when the first exploration drilling in the area began. The U.S. major holds interests in 40 producing oil and gas fields and produces around five percent of UK oil and gas production, with an average 80,000 barrels of oil and 441 million cubic feet of gas a day. Exxon’s investment in the North Sea is managed through a 50/50 joint operation with Shell.
If Exxon sells some or part of its assets in the UK North Sea, it will be yet another major U.S. oil and gas firm to divest interests in this mature area to focus on their current key growth areas, which for Exxon right now are the Permian in Texas and conventional oil production offshore Guyana.
While European supermajors Shell, BP, and Total continue to view the North Sea as one of their core assets, U.S. majors have been selling North Sea stakes as many of them are now focused on U.S. shale.
Marathon Oil said in February that it would be exiting the UK North Sea as it continues to focus on high-return U.S. shale oil operations.
In April, ConocoPhillips sold its UK oil and gas business to Chrysaor Holdings for US$2.675 billion in a deal which Wood Mackenzie described as “another story of the changing corporate landscape in the North Sea – for the first time, a non major is the number one producer in the UK.”
Chevron also sold in May its North Sea assets—except for a non-operated stake in the Clair field—for US$2 billion to Ithaca Energy.
A sale of assets in the UK would add to Exxon’s plan to sell its assets offshore Norway in what could be a major withdrawal from European offshore production.
In Norway, ExxonMobil sold in 2017 its ownership interests in its operated fields Balder, Jotun Ringhorne, and Ringhorne East to Point Resources, but continued to hold ownership interests in fields that it doesn’t operate.
In June, an Exxon spokesman told a Norwegian newspaper that the company is weighing the sale of its assets in Norway. Rystad Energy has estimated that Exxon’s portfolio of Norwegian upstream assets has a value of US$3.1 billion. As of 1 January 2019, Exxon controlled 530 million barrels of oil equivalent on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, the most valuable asset being a stake in the Snorre field, worth nearly US$700 million, according to Rystad. (source, source)
Now there could be many reasons why Exxon is selling its reserves there. However, I would like to propose another angle as a part of future planning and consideration.
During World War II, Germany immediately seized all oil fields that she could on the continent. However, she did not have enough to run her war machine, and thus had to invade Azerbaijan. This was the reason for the giant push east. It was not because Hitler was “dumb”, but because his advisors and he miscalculated very early how much oil they would actually need. The only way to get the oil was to take Azerbaijan, which meant taking the Volga basin. This was the reason why the costliest battle of World War II, as well as the deciding battle of the war, was not at Normandy, but at the five-month long Siege of Stalingrad in 1942.
Do not be deceived or think that history has changed. Germans are masters of deception as well as are extremely violent, and this has been consistent since the inception of their history. The 20th century is just one of many conflict periods throughout her history that testifies to this. Call them “weak” or “incapable,” yet then one would be hard pressed to explain why a nation with one-quarter the population of the US and the size of Texas is the fourth largest economy in the world and exports more weapons than all of China.
Germany could easily become a war machine overnight, and they know this. They would pose a threat to the US, and if united with Russia, a very difficult army to overcome.
Why would this matter for Exxon? Because in the event of a major conflict, the first thing that Germany is going to do- as she has done before -is to seize all of the nearby oil fields in Europe. This includes the fields off the coast of Norway.
Walid, Ted, and I have been warning about the massive railroad and pipeline networks going between Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia as being part of a massive plan for war that, in order to ensure a constant flow of oil to Germany, redundant systems are being established as we speak. It is why the war in Ukraine is taking place- in order to prepare the way for an inevitable German march to the Caucasus while attempting to avoid the carnage of Stalingrad. Indeed, if the Volga Basin falls, not only does Germany take over Europe, but she also conquers Russia, since Moscow would likely not be able to muster up the resistance to her.
Does one think that Exxon would stay around to have her investments seized or destroyed? Absolutely not.
It is in a similar way what happened with the Catalonian revolution in Spain. Before the revolution started, there was a massive exodus of banks from the area.
Now I am not saying that a German invasion is imminent, or that it is even the near future. However, the likelihood of a major war in the next decade or a little more is very high. This cannot be forgotten.
Exxon likely sees this. After all, oil companies always benefit from conflict.
But they are also not stupid. Given that it takes time to set up and take down oil infrastructure, it is possible that Exxon is using the current situation to quietly exit themselves from this area of the European sphere and to set their profits up elsewhere.