But recently the so-called supermajors have been doing a little housecleaning of their own, and more is expected given lower commodity prices, which are leading to weaker cash flow and sliding earnings.
"It was like a wake-up call," said Dennis Cassidy, a managing director at advisory firm AlixPartners. "The big multinationals are all rethinking their strategies."
The buyer didn't reveal the price, but industry officials have said the two partners couldn't agree on what to charge for the gas coming out of the properties, so off it went.
Industry watchers say that the San Ramon, Calif.-based company will keep selling as it tries to reach cash flow neutrality while covering its dividends. It already sold $6 billion worth of assets last year, including its stake in an oil project in Chad to the Chad government for $1.3 billion.
In March, it boosted its divestiture target by 50% to $15 billion over the next two years. So far this year, most of its divestitures have been down under, including its half stake in Australian oil refiner and retailer Caltex Australia (CTXAF) to institutional investors for $3.6 billion, its downstream operations in New Zealand to Z Energy (Z) for $558 million and its 11.4% interest in New Zealand Refining (NZRFF), also to institutional investors, for $58 million.
Even the biggest giant of them all, ExxonMobil (XOM), is lightening its load.