ExxonMobil strikes 1bn barrels of oil off Nigeria shores

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(FILES) An Exxon sign is seen at a station in this September 20, 2008 file photo in Manassas, Virginia. US oil giant ExxonMobil on July 31, 2014 reported higher second-quarter profits despite pumping less oil and gas than it did a year ago. Exxon, the biggest US oil company and the second-largest US company in terms of market capitalization after Apple, said earnings came in at $8.8 billion, up 28 percent from the year-ago level. "ExxonMobil's financial results were achieved through strong operational performance and portfolio management," said chief executive Rex Tillerson. "We continue to enhance shareholder value by funding capital projects and delivering robust shareholder returns through dividends and share purchases." Results translated into earnings per share of $2.05, 19 cents above analyst forecasts.AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER/FILESKAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD **

ExxonMobil says it has discovered up to 1 billion barrels of oil off Nigeria’s shores.

A statement Thursday says the “significant discovery” at Owowo-3 well extends an existing field worked by the U.S. multinational. ExxonMobil is the operator and owns 27 percent of Owowo. Nigeria’s state oil company holds majority shares. Other partners include Chevron, France’s Total and Chinese-Canadian Nexen.

The news comes the day before ExxonMobil announces third-quarter results.

Oil multinationals in Nigeria are suffering attacks by militants who have slashed production, driving this West African oil giant into recession.

Lagos-based SBM Intelligence risk analysts estimate that ExxonMobil, Dutch-British Shell and Chevron lost $7.1 billion in the first half of this year — some 70 percent of earnings — through militant attacks, low oil prices and weak refinery margins.

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