Sale of sites in France: ExxonMobil “is in no hurry”, says its boss – 04/26/2024 at 6:42 p.m.


The CEO of the American oil and gas giant ExxonMobil indicated on Friday that he was in no “rush” regarding the sale of activities in France, a project announced two weeks ago.

“We are not in a hurry. We are taking our time to ensure that we find the right buyer, with a proposal with the right valuation,” said Darren Woods, interviewed during an audio conference with analysts, on the occasion of the publication of first quarter results.

ExxonMobil announced on April 11 a reduction in its activities in Port-Jérôme-sur-Seine (Seine-Maritime) as well as a plan to sell, via its subsidiary Esso France, several sites to Rhône Energies.

The latter is a Swiss consortium made up of the trading giant Trafigura and the American refinery operator Entara, which wants to buy a refinery in Fos-sur-Mer (Bouches-du-Rhône), as well as Esso depots in Toulouse (Haute -Garonne) and Villette-de-Vienne (Isère).

What was recently decided in France “is the latest example of a trend that has been going on for a long time”, said Mr. Woods, explaining that it was now a question, for the group, of having “integrated infrastructures producing a whole range of products.

These “integrated” sites must, according to him, be able to “produce petroleum products, but also chemicals, lubricants and, basically, a whole series of high-value products”.

This makes it possible “to limit supply costs so that margins increase,” added Mr. Woods.

“We will continue to optimize and improve these refiners to the best of our ability,” but “we feel pretty good about our current position” at the portfolio level, he noted.

For her part, CFO Kathy Michaels stressed that “the investment environment in Europe [était] definitely a little more difficult” since 2022.

She mentioned additional taxes levied on the energy sector, new publication requirements, as well as regulations on reducing the carbon footprint.

“All of this makes Europe a more difficult investment option,” she said. “It’s one of the things we look at in any location in the world … when we’re considering future investments.”

Between January and March, the Texan group recorded a turnover of 83.08 billion dollars (-4% over one year) and a net profit of 8.22 billion (-28.1%), which is lower to the consensus of Factset analysts. It was mainly affected by reduced margins in refining and a drop in natural gas prices.

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