Exxon seeks to unblock stalled oil production sale in Nigeria 

Exxon Mobil Corp hopes to get the federal government’s approval to allow the stalled sale of its shallow water oil production operations in Nigeria, a top Exxon executive told Reuters.

The largest U.S. oil company will keep its deep-water assets in Nigeria despite a change in the government’s leadership, Exxon Global Upstream President Liam Mallon said ahead of the CERAweek energy conference by S&PGlobal in Houston starting Monday.

Nigeria last year lost its position as Africa’s top oil producer as major producers like Shell PLC and TotalEnergies have sold assets and exited the country amid widespread corruption and security issues.

Exxon one year ago disclosed plans to sell its $1.2 billion in shallow-water assets in Nigeria. But the government in August withheld its initial approval without providing an explanation.

President-elect Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party won last week’s general election, and is due to replace his party mate Muhammadu Buhari. However, opponents and independent observers have vowed to challenge the results due to logistical failures that dramatically reduced turnout.

Exxon’s buyer for the shallow water properties, Nigeria’s Seplat Energy Plc, had said it was working with the government to get the deal approved before the new president is sworn in two months from now.

The country “remains a challenging place to work in,” Mallon said. Exxon made “a clear commitment” to stay in Nigeria through its deep-water operations, but future investments will be subject to market conditions.