The ENI group will in the coming weeks sign a contract to sell a stake in the Area 4 block of the Rovuma basin in northern Mozambique, CEO Claudio Descalzi, told the Financial Times.
Descalzi did not identify the buyer of the stake expected to cost a few billion dollars but US group ExxonMobil is considered the most likely candidate as it already has oil exploration licenses in Mozambique.
The sale of this stake comes ahead of the announcement of the final decision on investment in the Coral Sul field, the first zone of the Area 4 block to come into operation.
In October 2016, the president of the Mozambican government’s national oil company ENH, Omar Mitha said the ExxonMobil group would be a partner of the Italian group in exploring the large natural gas reserves in that block.
At that time, Mitha said ExxonMobil’s entry was a major gain, mainly due to the experience it has in the global production and distribution of natural gas.
“ExxonMobil is already working in Mozambique and we have had regular meetings as partners first in the fifth tender in which it has fields in Angoche and the Sofala and Zambezi blocks and, second, in relation to its entry in Area 4,” said the CEO of ENH giving assurances that, in the particular case of Area 4, the US group will have a minority stake.
ENI is the operator of Area 4 with an indirect stake of 50% held through its subsidiary Eni East Africa (EEA), which in turn owns 70% of Area 4.
The other partners are ENH, with a 10% share, Portuguese group Galp Energia (10%), Kogas of South Korea (10%), and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has an indirect stake of 20% through Eni East Africa.