ExxonMobil has emerged as the buyer for a 25 per cent indirect stake in Eni’s Mozambique operations after weeks of speculation that the Texan oil giant was the frontrunner.

Italian group Eni had been looking for a partner to help bring Mozambique’s vast offshore gas resources to the global market, with ExxonMobil tipped as the most likely candidate due to its exploration licences in the southeast African country.

The agreed terms between ExxonMobil and Eni include a cash price of around $2.8bn. Eni currently holds a 50 per cent indirect share in the Mozambique natural gas site through a 71.4 per cent stake in Eni East Africa.

The deal will leave Eni and ExxonMobil with equal stakes in Eni East Africa of 35.7 per cent each, with CNPC of China holding a 28.6 per cent stake.

Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive at ExxonMobil, said that the purchase would be “a major addition” to the company’s global development portfolio, stating:

This strategic investment will enable ExxonMobil’s LNG leadership and experience to support development of Mozambique’s abundant natural gas resources.

Our industry-leading project execution, advanced technologies, financial strength and marketing capabilities will help deliver reliable, affordable energy to customers and create long-term economic value for the people of Mozambique, project partners and ExxonMobil shareholders.

Eni chief executive officer Claudio Descalzi said:

This deal represents material evidence of our exploration strategy based on the early monetization of our exploration discoveries, as a part of our ‘dual-exploration’ model. Through this strategy, Eni has been able to cash in more than $9 billion in the last four years. Moreover, the agreement confirms the world class quality, production potential, technical and financial robustness of the entire project.

The deal remains subject to clearance from regulatory authorities in Mozambique and elsewhere.

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