Big Oil is giving up looking for singles and doubles in the Gulf of Mexico: Now it’s home runs or bust.
Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the world’s two biggest oil companies, have put a slew of assets in the Gulf up for sale in recent weeks, while Brazil’s state-run Petrobras this week sold the bulk of its production in the region to mid-cap explorer Murphy Oil Corp.
The majors are not leaving the Gulf altogether but they are shifting priorities. They’re using oil’s climb to a four-year high above $86 a barrel to offload older assets that are past their peaks to focus on bigger, more profitable discoveries, either in the deepest reaches of the Gulf or unexplored seas elsewhere in the world. The message is clear: Go big or go home.