Tuesday 4 December 2018 4:10 pm

Exxon and Chevron plan to sell stakes in ‘contract of the century’ oil field

Exxon Mobil and Chevron are looking to sell their stakes in a BP-operated oil field in Azerbaijan once dubbed the “contract of the century”.

Exxon Mobil is hoping it can raise up to $2bn by selling its 6.8 per cent holding in the field by the Caspian Sea, sources told Reuters yesterday.

The move is part of the US company’s efforts to re-focus its operations as it develops US shale and builds on discoveries in Guyana.

Meanwhile, Chevron said it will begin to market its stake in the field a Azeri pipeline.

“Chevron regularly reviews its global portfolio of assets to ensure alignment with its long-term priorities,” it said.

“As part of this review, we have decided to initiate the process of marketing, with a view to a potential sale, of our Chevron affiliate interests in the Azeri chirag and deep water gunashli project and the baku-tbilisi-ceyhan pipeline.”

The field is the biggest in the country, pumping out almost 600,000 barrels per day, or around three quarters of Azeri crude output.

The companies are the last US investors left in the oil field after it was launched with much fanfare in the mid-1990s.

Dubbed the contract of the century, politicians hoped the discovery could help wean Europe off Russian oil and gas.

However, western hopes faded as the oil field failed to produce further big discoveries. BP and state-owned Socar are the biggest owners.

Exxon did not immediately comment.