Production sharing contracts have been inked between Production Mauritania Deepwater, ExxonMobil Exploration (a wholly owned affiliate of ExxonMobil Corporation) and the Mauritanian government with relation to the C14, C17 and C22 deepwater offshore blocks. The water depths of the blocks range between 1,000 meters and over 3,500 meters.
Once ExxonMobil gets the government’s consent the oil giant will start exploration activities as well as acquiring seismic data. As the block operator ExxonMobil has 90% interest while Societe Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures et de Patrimoine Minier has a stake of 10%.
These agreements have strengthened the worldwide deepwater acreage position of ExxonMobil. In the recent past the world’s biggest oil company by market capitalization purchased a 50% stake held by Statoil ASA in Brazil’s BM-S-8 block. The strategy of the energy giant is to undertake an exploration of oil resources in the field. ExxonMobil has also invested in the Carcara oil field which is estimated to hold amounts of recoverable oil reserves exceeding two billion barrels.
ExxonMobil’s signing of production sharing contracts coincides with the oil giant urging the top court in the state of Massachusetts to prevent the attorney general of the state from obtaining records for the purposes of investigating whether the Irving, Texas-based oil major hid knowledge and information regarding the role played by fossil fuels in climate change.
A lawyer representing the energy giant told the judges of the Supreme Court in Massachusetts that his arguments would be restricting to focusing on whether the state’s attorney general has any jurisdiction with regards to the quest for records.
According Justin Anderson, the lawyer for the energy giant, ExxonMobil was not asking the court to give a ruling on climate change. In Anderson’s view, Maura Healey, the state’s attorney general, was improperly attempting to establish jurisdiction. In Massachusetts ExxonMobil has over 300 fuelling outlets which are operated by franchisees.
The chief legal counsel of the attorney general, Richard Johnston, argued that the energy giant exercised control over the marketing done by franchisees and also conducted advertising on behalf of the franchisees.
“We should be able to find out whether they knew about impact of fossil fuels on global warming so they should have said more in those advertisements,” said Johnston.
The attorney general of Massachusetts as well as the attorney general of New York had sought records after reports appeared two years ago indicating that scientists at ExxonMobil had concluded that in order to fight climate change it was necessary to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.