The largest listed oil company in recent weeks has been discussing with some operators in the North Sea to assess their interest in all or part of its assets, which could be worth up to $ 2 billion ($ 1.78 billion), reported three industry sources aware of the negotiation.
Exxon didn't want to talk.
Leaving the British part of the North Sea would mean for Exxon another step to Europe's withdrawal while the textile group has already sold its Norwegian overseas assets.
Exxon will follow in the footsteps of its U.S. competitors Chevron and ConocoPhilips, which sold most of its North Sea company this year.
Exxon operates in the North Sea through Esso Exploration and Production UK, a joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell, which owns interests in about 40 oil and gas fields.
Shell declined to comment.
Exxon produces about 80,000 barrels of oil and 441 million cubic meters of gas daily in the British North Sea, according to its website.
Major private producers in the North Sea, such as Chrysaor or Neptune, could be potential candidates for redemption.
If direct discussions with these potential buyers are unsuccessful, Exxon will consider choosing a bank to organize a formal sales process, two sources said.
It has been producing gas since 1968 and oil since 1976, especially in the Brent deposit off Scotland, which is the world's leading crude oil reference.
In recent years, Exxon has focused on the Permian Basin, at the heart of shale oil production in the United States, as well as in Guyana, where it invests in huge unexploded deposits.
(Catherine Mallebay-Cowboy for the French service, edited by Matthieu Protard)
by Ron Bousso