The European Commission (EC) has approved ExxonMobil’s sale of a 30% stake in two of its affiliates - ExxonMobil Exploration Argentina and Mobil Argentina, to Qatar Petroleum.


Image: The European Commission has approved a transaction between ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum in Argentina. Photo: courtesy of Sébastien Bertrand/

ExxonMobil Exploration Argentina and Mobil Argentina are wholly owned by the US oil and gas company, and are engaged in operations at the Vaca Muerta shale field in Argentina.

The two ExxonMobil affiliates, which hold different stakes in hydrocarbon licenses in the Vaca Muerta play in the Neuquén basin, are involved in the exploration, development, production, and sale of crude oil and gas.

Both of them hold rights alongside other partners for seven blocks under unconventional exploration licenses in the Vaca Muerta play.

In a statement, the EC, said: “The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns because of the negligible actual and foreseen activities of the companies in the European Economic Area. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.”

ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum had entered into the deal in June 2018. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The transaction is Qatar Petroleum’s first investment in Argentina and also its first major investment in unconventional oil and gas resources outside Qatar.

According to Qatar Petroleum, the Vaca Muerta shale play in western Argentina is believed to be among the most prospective unconventional shale oil/gas plays outside North America.

It said that activity in the basin has recently picked up, primarily due to governmental incentives and increasing domestic energy demand. Various global operators have established footprint in the basin and have come out with ambitious investment plans, said Qatar Petroleum at the time of the deal.

Recently, Qatar Petroleum joined forces with ExxonMobil to win the hydrocarbon rights for the Tita block offshore Brazil during the South American country’s 5th pre-salt bid round.

ExxonMobil will be the operator of the offshore Brazilian block with a 64% stake while the Qatari company will hold the remaining stake of 36%.

In April 2017, Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil signed a contract with the Cypriot government for oil and gas exploration and production offshore Block 10 in the Mediterranean Sea.