ExxonMobil has called off a multibillion-dollar exploration project in deep waters off the coast of Brazil after a string of unsuccessful wells, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The American energy giant is believed to have moved geologists and engineers working on the project to other locations such as Guyana, Angola, and Canada.

ExxonMobil, along with its partners, began buying the offshore acreage for $4bn in 2017 but failed to find a viable amount of crude oil there.

Citing analysts, the report said ExxonMobil has not solicited bids from drilling companies for exploratory work there in the year since its last active rig contract terminated in April 2022.

ExxonMobil chief executive Darren Woods identified Brazil as one of the company’s key “growth opportunities” and a component of its portfolio of low-cost supply projects in December 2022.

Even as ExxonMobil abandons oil drilling in Brazil, the company did not rule out future projects in the country.

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According to Michelle Gray, an ExxonMobil representative, the company is still active in Brazil and is currently pursuing exploration activities there.

“Our initial exploration drilling program in Brazil is now complete,” Gray was quoted by the publication as saying.

“We continue to work with our co-venturers to analyse the data acquired from the extensive drilling program to assess the potential for future exploration activities in those blocks.”

Sources told the publication that ExxonMobil executives internally overestimated their ability to drill effective wells in untested regions.

The setback contrasts with ExxonMobil’s success in Guyana, where it discovered decades worth of oil.

Currently, six drilling rigs from ExxonMobil are employed in Guyana and it is believed that the company will secure additional contracts there in the upcoming months.