ExxonMobil expands presence in Brazil and adds to Permian Basin holdings

ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) has purchased a total of 10 oil exploration blocks in Brazil during a record auction and confirmed it has added 22,000 acres to its US Permian Basin portfolio.

The US multinational oil giant took six blocks in the promising pre-salt layered Campos Basin in a partnership with state-run oil firm Petrobras, after bidding just over US$700 million, the highest ever offer received in Brazil.

Exxon also bought two blocks in the basin which it will operate independently and a further two in the Sergipe-Alagoas basin that it will develop with Queiroz Galvão Exploração e Produção (QGEP) and Murphy Oil Corp.

Overall, the cash-strapped South American country received over $1 billion in offers for several dozen of the 287 exploration blocks on offer at the auction in Rio de Janeiro.

The results will come as a boost to Brazil, which viewed the auction as a test of whether market-friendly reforms under President Michel Temer could tempt investors back to the oil sector.

Meanwhile, Exxon has built on its existing 6 billion barrels in the Permian Basin with the acquisition of acreages in the Delaware and Midland Basins.

“We continue to build on our strong position in the Permian,” said Jack Williams, ExxonMobil senior vice president. “Our leading presence in the Permian, from equity production through to Gulf Coast refining capacity, positions us well for the future.”