Global energy major ExxonMobil has abandoned plans to sell its stake in the giant Bass Strait oil and gas fields off the coast of Victoria, more than a year after putting the assets on the market.
ExxonMobil has been seeking a buyer for its stake in the 50-year-old Gippsland Basin joint venture, which it jointly owns with BHP, but the company told its workforce at 11am on Friday it had decided to retain the assets following an “extensive market evaluation”.
“We believe Gippsland Basin and the Kipper unit are more valuable as part of our portfolio and we will continue to operate rather than divest,” an Exxon spokesman said.
The Bass Strait oil and gas fields have traditionally supplied up to half of Australia’s east-coast gas demand, but have recently been in rapid decline. Diminishing supply from offshore wells and the hunt for more reservoirs has gained heightened attention in recent years as energy authorities warn of a looming supply shortage from as early as 2023 unless more is brought to market and manufacturers blame high gas prices as they shut their doors in Victoria and NSW.
The Morrison government has made increasing gas production a priority of the nation’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union organiser Steve Dodd said ExxonMobil’s decision was being broadly welcomed by the workforce.
“They no longer have the for-sale sign up,” he said. “It gives our members some permanency, they won’t have to reapply for their jobs with some new employer.”
Private equity, ASX-listed Beach Energy and AGL Energy, Australia’s biggest power and gas supplier, have been speculated as potentially interested purchasers of a stake in the joint venture.
BHP is separately seeking a buyer for its 50 per cent stake in the joint venture.
Source: Thanks smh.com