After discovering oil off the shores of Guyana, Exxon Mobil (XOM) appears to have hit it big. However, as the integrated oil major works to further develop the Liza discovery, it is also in the midst of significant financial negotiations with foreign governments.
Analysts at Credit Suisse recently highlighted the discussions between Exxon Mobil and the Chadian government as well as the Nigerian National Petroleum (NNPC), which could both affect the company's balance sheet in the coming years.
On the positive side, Nigerian National Petroleum, the state's oil firm, agreed on Thursday to pay back $5.1 billion in unpaid bills to oil majors including Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) , according to Reuters. The firm has accumulated a total of $6.8 billion in unpaid bills up to December 2014, of which it was responsible for paying under joint ventures with the oil majors.
However, there is one critical caveat that could alter the deal: production.
"The agreement calls for the $5.1 billion to be repaid within five years, interest free, in the form of crude oil cargoes, but only if the country's production exceeds 2.2 Mbpd," the Credit Suisse analysts mentioned in a research note on Thursday. The Nigerian oil minister also said that if, for any reason, it did not meet the threshold, it will not pay the $5.1 billion, "so that is fantastic," Kackikwu added.
Even though this deal hinges on the production from a member nation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Nigeria, along with Iran and Libya, are currently exempt from the proposed production cuts and will likely be allowed to raise production levels. Still, it could take five years for Exxon Mobil to see some of those bills being paid off.