The Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv recently reported that the American giant ExxonMobil plans to sell its remaining assets in Norway.
The Norwegian company Var Energi, owned by Italian Eni, would acquire the assets for $4.2 billion. Eni controls 69.6 percent of Var Energi and the remaining 30.4 percent of shares are held by the investment company HitecVision. Following the transaction Var Energy would become Norways’ second largest oil producer, after Equinor.
For several years ExxonMobil has been one of the largest non-Norwegian oil and gas producers on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. In 2017 the company sold its ownership interests in the ExxonMobil operated fields Balder, Jotun Ringhorne and Ringhorne East to Point Resources. ExxonMobil continues to hold ownership interests in over 20 producing oil and gas fields operated by others. In 2017 the company’s net production from these fields was around 170,000 barrels per day.
The energy research and business intelligence company Rystad Energy stated that ExxonMobil’s decision to put its assets up for sale follows a gradual decline in Norwegian activity.
The history of ExxonMobil’s 125 years in Norway is also to a large extent the story of Norway’s emergence as a modern nation.
The energy products produced and offered by the company have been important building blocks in the development of today’s society – from lamp oil distributed by horse and cart more than a century ago to petroleum production in the North Sea and the marketing of motor fuels and oils for cars, ships, aircraft and industry. ExxonMobil’s story in Norway is as eventful as it is long. It is a slice of Norwegian history.
Esso chartered Odeco’s semi-submersible Ocean Traveler built at Avondale shipyard in New Orleans.
The newbuild semi-submersible sailed across the Atlantic for 52 days on a 13.000 kilometers-long voyage and reached Norway in June 1966. Esso’s Ocean Traveler drilled the first exploration well on the Norwegian continental shelf in block 8/3, at about 180 kilometres southwest of Stavanger. After reaching a depth of 3 015 metres in 84 days, the well failed to find traces of oil and gas. But cores taken during the drilling operations demonstrated that the types of geological sediments sought by the oil explorers were in place. Much later, in a water depth of 125 meters, the block became the discovery location of the Balder Field.
Esso’s Ocean Traveler was joined in 1967 by the Ocean Viking drilling rig ordered by the new Phillips consortium and built by the Norwegian firm Aker in 1967 for Odeco. Using the Ocean Viking, Phillips found Norway’s first commercial oil at Ekofisk in 1969.
ExxonMobil’s final departure from Norway will mark the end of a beautiful story that will have lasted 125 years
(Source: ExxonMobil/Dagens Naeringsliv – Image: Ocean Traveler on tow in the Norwegian North Sea/ExxonMobil)