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ExxonMobil's (XOM) Affiliate Inks 3 Exploration Contracts

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ExxonMobil Corporation’s (XOM - Free Report) wholly owned affiliate — ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Mauritania Deepwater Ltd. — has inked production sharing contracts with the government of Mauritania. The contracts are related to three deepwater offshore blocks — C22, C17 and C14.

Located at approximately 124 miles, or 200 kilometers, offshore Mauritania, the three blocks are spread over nearly 8.4 million acres in water depths ranging from 3,300 feet to 11,500 feet, or 1,000 meters to more than 3,500 meters.

ExxonMobil will commence exploration activities along with acquisition of seismic data and analysis only after it receives consent of the government for the contracts.

ExxonMobil, being the operator of the blocks, will perform the activities with a stake of 90%. The remaining 10% will be held by Societe Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures et de Patrimoine Minier.

ExxonMobil’s global deepwater acreage position is further strengthened with these agreements. The company’s is well poised on the back of competence and advanced technology.

Recently, the company acquired Statoil ASA’s (STO - Free Report) 50% stake in the prospective BM-S-8 block, located off the coast of Brazil. The purchase was in line with ExxonMobil’s strategy to explore oil resources from the field. The company’s decision to invest in the pre-salt Carcara oil field is noteworthy. The field is expected to contain as high as 2 billion barrels of high-quality recoverable oil reserves.

About ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil has a leading position in the energy industry owing to the size and diversity of asset base, in terms of business mix and geographical footprint. With a stable cash position, the company’s balance sheet is considered among the best in the industry. However, due to its integrated functions, the company is susceptible to risk from any weakness in the global economy. Moreover, dependence on costly offshore drilling might dent ExxonMobil’s cash flow.

Shares of the company have returned 8.2% compared with the industry’s rally of 10.4% in the last three months.

Zacks Rank & Other Key Picks

ExxonMobil currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other top-ranked stocks in the energy sector are ConocoPhillips (COP - Free Report) and Northern Oil and Gas Inc (NOG - Free Report) . Both these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

ConocoPhillips, based in Houston, TX, is a major global exploration and production (E&P) company. It delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 152.34% in the last four quarters.

Northern Oil and Gas, based in Minnetonka, MN, is an independent energy company. The company delivered an average earnings surprise of 175.00% in the last four quarters.

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