ExxonMobil has signed a deal with Romgaz to sell its Romanian upstream unit, ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania, for more than $1bn.

The sale comes as the US oil major intends to focus its investment on advantaged assets with a low supply cost.

Under the terms of the deal, Romgaz will purchase all the shares in Exxon’s Romanian upstream unit together with a stake in the XIX Neptun Block offshore Romania.

Subject to approvals from the Romanian Government, the transaction is slated to close in the second quarter of the year.

ExxonMobil Upstream Company president Liam Mallon said: “Our investments to date have positioned the Neptun Deep project for future success with potential to help increase resource production within Romania and the European Union.”

Romania Minister of Energy Virgil Popescu said: “Today, by signing the contract between Romgaz SA and ExxonMobil, Romania has taken a huge step towards ensuring energy security and independence.”

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Upon completion of the deal, the XIX Neptun Block’s operatorship will be transferred to its other titleholder, OMV Petrom.

Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă said: “The transaction worth over $1bn is the expression of the Government’s commitment to support vital investments in energy and the exploitation of natural gas in the Black Sea for the benefit of Romanians and the Romanian economy.”

In a separate announcement, Exxon Mobil is in talks with Guyana to build a more than 190km-long natural gas pipeline from offshore projects, reported Reuters, citing Guyana Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat.

The proposed pipeline, which would see participation from Exxon, is expected to transport up to 140 million cubic feet per day of the associated gas from the Stabroek block to onshore.