ExxonMobil Leaves Lasting CSR Legacy in Africa’s Largest Oil Markets
The ability of foreign operators to drive sustainable, inclusive growth – ensuring that the benefits of hydrocarbon extraction are extended to local communities – is a critical factor in the viability of large-scale upstream projects. For its part, ExxonMobil serves as one of the largest investors in the African petroleum industry, with the majority of its resources directed to operations in Nigeria, Angola and Equatorial Guinea – the top three oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet in addition to spearheading exploration and production (E&P) activities – and investing over $46 billion since 2006, in the process – Exxon has made substantial social and economic contributions to the markets in which it operates. Accordingly, the U.S. supermajor demonstrates the way in which American E&P firms can play a transformative role in Africa’s long-term growth and harness oil and gas resources to raise living standards across the globe.
Exxon is one of the largest oil producers in Equatorial Guinea, operating under its upstream affiliate Mobil Equatorial Guinea Inc. (MEGI). The discovery of its 1.1-billion-barrel Zafiro field represents the first deep-water field to be brought online in West Africa, and holds the majority of the country’s oil reserves. MEGI operates offshore Block B, in partnership with national oil company GEPetrol and the Government of Equatorial Guinea.
In terms of social contributions, MEGI is renowned for its long-standing commitment to environmental protection. For over 20 years, MEGI has been the primary sponsor of the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP), which studies and protects the biodiversity of Equatorial Guinea’s wildlife and wild spaces. Located 20 miles off the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, Bioko Island is home to a diversity of flora and fauna, including seven species of endangered monkeys and four species of nesting sea turtles. The BBPP implements wildlife patrols to monitor legally protected areas on the island through a monthly census. In addition to its conservation efforts, MEGI has funded a wide range of social programs targeting improved healthcare and education, increased access to potable drinking water, female empowerment, local capacity-building and infrastructure improvement works.
In Angola, Exxon operates through its subsidiary, Esso Exploration Angola, and has interests in three deep-water blocks spanning nearly two million acres. Blocks 15, 17 and 32 are home to world-class hydrocarbon deposits, estimated to hold approximately 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels of recoverable resources. The development of Block 15, in which Exxon holds a 40% interest, has been led by the Kozomba Offshore Field Deepwater Project, which is linked to the Mondo, Saxi and Batuque fields and represents some of the first deep-water acreage put on offer by the Angolan government. In June 2019, the Exxon-led consortium operating the block extended its production sharing agreement through 2032, as well as approved a multi-year drilling program to add 40,000 barrels to current production. A license extension was also granted in Total-operated Block 17 until 2045, in which Exxon carries a 20% interest. Meanwhile, 13 discoveries have been announced to date in Block 32, in which Exxon carries a 15% interest, with total resources exceeding one billion oil-equivalent barrels.
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