ExxonMobil 'eyes Eni Mozambique stake'

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US supermajor ExxonMobil is looking to take a sizeable stake in Italian operator Eni’s Area 4 gas-rich acreage off Mozambique, according to a report.

The Irving, Texas-based giant is in talks about taking a 15% slice in the asset, Reuters reported, but may even have an interest in taking Eni’s entire 50% stake.

Two unidentified sources said ExxonMobil was eyeing the 15% stake, with another source indicating to the news wire that it was interest in the whole 50% stakes, while yet another source said ExxonMobil was interested in other Eni assets.

Eni has already said it wants to shed some of its interest in the Rovuma basin play, with stake sales in Congo-Brazzaville an even perhaps Egypt also on the cards.

Eni said in mid-March that it was looking to dispose of €7 billion ($7.9 billion) worth of assets by 2019, mainly through the sale of stakes in new discoveries. Under its new 2016-2019 business plan, Eni is also eyeing capital expenditure cuts “to fulfil short term constraints”. While the group’s capex will be reduced by 21% to €37 billion, upstream spending will drop by 18%.

Eni is keen to take a final investment decision on its Coral floating liquefied natural gas project in Area 4 within a few months.

The company is also targeting more FLNG vessels on the field and is working on sanctioning its Mamba onshore LNG scheme in Area 4, perhaps in late 2017.

First gas is set to flow from Coral in 2021, while Mamba could be online a year or more later.

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