ExxonMobil Plans Shift Away From West Africa

Crude output from the country is now less than 15,000 B/D.

Map of Republic of Equatorial Guinea through magnifying glass
Getty Images.

ExxonMobil will wind down oil production in Equatorial Guinea and leave the West African country after its license expires in 2026, sources told Reuters. The exit is part of a larger exodus by oil and gas companies shifting their focus away from aging offshore projects in West Africa to lower-carbon natural gas and LNG projects inland and more-lucrative projects elsewhere.

The operator has cut its output in the country to less than 15,000 BOPD through existing production unit Serpentina, according to the Reuters source. It evacuated staff from the offshore production platform Zafiro this year due to water entering the aging vessel.

ExxonMobil’s oil output in Equatorial Guinea peaked at more than 300,000 B/D 8 years ago and has been declining since. It has been trying to sell its Zafiro operation since 2020, but with no takers, the operator plans to decommission the floater soon. The company last year pumped about 45,000 B/D in Equatorial Guinea, out of the country’s total production of 93,000 B/D.

ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and TotalEnergies have all left Nigeria due to rampant levels of oil theft, selling their assets mostly to local companies. Nigeria’s output is at a 32-year low and the country this year slipped behind Angola as Africa’s largest exporter.