Exxon quits drilling in Brazil after failing to find oil – WSJ

Reuters | April 5, 2023

Responsive image

(Reuters) -Exxon Mobil Corp has ended a major campaign to find oil in Brazil, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. 

Exxon said in an e-mail to Reuters its initial exploration drilling program in Brazil is now complete and that it is “still engaged in Brazil and continues to pursue exploration activity in the country”.    The oil and gas giant suffered a sequence of drilling failures as an operator in the offshore acreage it started snapping up with partners for $4 billion in 2017, Reuters reported last year. Exxon changed its Brazil country head last year and has been saying in presentations that it will focus efforts in the country with Bacalhau field, a successful exploration campaign led by its Norwegian partner Equinor ASA. In May 2022, Exxon agreed to expand with Equinor the $8-billion Bacalhau project expected to produce 220,000 barrels of oil and gas per day.

But that campaign also suffered delays, and its startup has been delayed to 2025, from 2024. Exxon said on Wednesday it is working with co-venturers to analyze the data to assess the potential for future exploration activities in those blocks.

Exxon had bet billions of dollars on offshore drilling in Brazil, and the country is one of the three geographic areas the company is counting on for most of its future production.

The other two – Guyana and U.S. shale country – are performing well, but Exxon is yet to make a major oil discovery as an operator in Brazil’s water.

The WSJ report comes less than a day after Exxon signaled that its first-quarter operating profits dropped about 25% from last year’s record levels on easing oil and gas prices.

(Reporting by Sabrina Valle, Akriti Sharma and Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)