ExxonMobil Halts Brazil Drilling Campaign After Coming Up Empty

Supermajor down, but not out of Brazilian exploration game.

Drillship West Saturn
Drillship West Saturn.

ExxonMobil has ended a major drilling campaign off Brazil after poor results, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Exxon said in an email to Reuters its initial exploration drilling program in Brazil is now complete and that it is “still engaged in Brazil and continues to pursue exploration activity in the country.”

The oil and gas giant suffered a sequence of drilling failures as an operator in the offshore acreage it started snapping up with partners for $4 billion in 2017, Reuters reported in 2022.

Exxon changed its Brazil country head last year and has reported during presentations that it will focus efforts in the country with the Bacalhau field, a successful exploration campaign led by its Norwegian partner Equinor using drillship West Saturn. In May 2022, Exxon agreed to expand with Equinor the $8-billion Bacalhau project expected to produce 220,000 barrels of oil and gas per day. The startup has slipped to 2025, from 2024.

Brazil is one of the three geographic areas ExxonMobil is counting on for most of its future production along with Guyana and the US shale plays.

Exxon has yet to make a major oil discovery as an operator in Brazilian waters.