Exxon Ends Oil Search With Total in South Sudan as War Rages

August 14, 2014

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM:US), the U.S.’s largest oil company, ended exploration plans with Total SA (FP) in South Sudan, Total and the government said, a sign of faltering investor confidence in the African nation as a civil war enters its eighth month.

Exxon in April didn’t renew an agreement with Total to negotiate for joint-exploration over parts of a 120,000 square-kilometer (46,300 square-mile) concession in Jonglei state, Total spokeswoman Anastasia Zhivulina said in an Aug. 12 e-mailed response to questions. Total is still bidding to explore in partnership with Kuwait’s state-owned Kuwait Foreign Exploration Petroleum Co. she said. Exxon spokesman Patrick McGinn said by e-mail that the company doesn’t comment on specific ventures.

“Losing the American oil company’s interest is definitely a blow for the future prospects of South Sudan’s oil industry,” Luke Patey, a researcher on the country’s industry at the Danish Institute for International Studies, said in an e-mailed response to questions. Exxon could re-enter South Sudan when security improves, he said.

Copyright, Bloomberg, 2014.