Shell now eyes Anadarko's stake in Mozambique offshore gas fields: report

After backing out from a bidding war for UK's Cove Energy, which held a minority 8.5 per cent stake in an oil block in Mozambique, Royal Dutch Shell has now entered talks to buy US group Anadarko Petroleum's 36.5-per cent stake in the same block, Bloomberg yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

Shell has begun informal talks with Texas-based Anadarko for buying a part or its entire 36.5 per cent stake in the Rovuma-1 offshore gas fields, said the news agency.

It added that although Anadarko has not begun a formal auction process, it is reluctant to sell its stake before further results of exploration in the fields are known.

While Anadarko with its 36.5-per cent stake is the operator of Rovuma-1, Cove Energy holds 8.5 per cent stake, India's Bharat Petroleum and Videocon Industries hold 10 per cent each, Japan's Mitsui holds 20 per cent and the remaining 15 per cent participating interest at the exploration phase is being held by Empressa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos EP, the National Oil Company of Mozambique, which can be altered during the production phase.

Early this week, the Hague-based Anglo-Dutch oil major withdrew from the two-month battle for control of Cove Energy, paving the way for Thailand's PTT Exploration & Production (PTTEP) to acquire the British oil and gas explorer for $1.9 billion. (See: Shell backs out of bidding war with Thailand's PTT over UK's Cove Energy)

Anadarko's stake in Rovuma would be worth around $8 billion – given Cove Energy's 8.5 per cent stake is being sold for $1.9 billion.