ExxonMobil Looking to Sell Stakes in Australian Fields

ExxonMobil has decided to sell its interest in two fields offshore Western Australia, Wandoo and Woollybutt. The company will not be conducting a public tender process, but will approach a limited number of companies that may have an interest in the assets, according to a company spokesperson.

This decision comes after an announcement earlier this year to sell its 20 percent interest in the Cooper-Eromanga Basin in Central Australia, valued approximately A$800 million ($537 million). Cooper Basin provides about a third of Australia's natural gas.

ExxonMobil's key asset in Australia is its 50 percent stake in the Bass Strait fields. Woollybutt and Wandoo are relatively small oilfields compared to Bass Strait.

Woollybutt is operated by Agip with a 65 percent stake, while ExxonMobil owns 20 percent and Tap Oil owns 15 percent. The field began producing in April and holds an estimated 25 million barrels of oil.

ExxonMobil operates the Wandoo facility on the North West Shelf with a 60 percent interest, Mitsui holds the remaining 40% stake. Wandoo produced about 6.59 million barrels in 2001. The main production facility came on stream in 1997, cost A$600 million to develop and has an expected life of 20 years.

ExxonMobil believes that these two fields would be of more worth to other than to ExxonMobil. The company hopes to complete the sale of the two fields by the end of the year.