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Eni Approached by Potential Partners for Mozambique Gas Area

March 13 (Bloomberg) -- Eni SpA has been approached by potential buyers for part of its 70 percent share in a Mozambique gas project that is the biggest discovery in the Italian company’s history, an official from the producer said.

“With the share we have at the moment, it’s within our discretion to carry on as we are, or to farm down” and sell a stake, Steve Ratcliffe, Eni’s senior vice president for liquefied natural gas, said today at a conference in Maputo.

Eni has discovered about 75 trillion cubic feet of gas at Area 4. The country may have 250 trillion cubic feet of reserves, according to Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos, Mozambique’s state-backed energy company. ENH, Galp Energia SGPS and Korea Gas Corp. each own 10 percent of Area 4.

Eni doesn’t have any specific requirements for a potential partner in the project, Ratcliffe said. Any deal would need to have the right pricing and strategic value for the Rome-based oil company, he said.

“Within the partnership you have to have the execution capability and the financial capability to do the investments,” he said. “I believe we have the financial capability so that’s not the main driver for us.”

China National Petroleum Corp., the nation’s biggest oil company, is in talks with Eni for a stake in the project valued at as much as $4 billion, two people familiar with the matter said last week. Eni may sell a 20 percent stake to state-controlled CNPC to share the cost of developing the project, the people said. The companies had been in talks for at least six months and terms haven’t been agreed on.

Mozambique’s offshore fields may hold enough gas to meet world consumption for more than two years, according to the national oil company. Eni and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., the two companies leading exploration in Mozambique, agreed last year to build the world’s second-largest LNG export plant to start sending fuel abroad in 2018.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Burkhardt in Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at

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