Mozambique official sees Shell as buyer

March 21 [Thu], 2013, 6:57
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc would be a good buyer for a stake in a Mozambique gas field, which sources say could fetch $4.5 billion, because of Shell's background in liquefied natural gas (LNG), the head of Mozambique's petroleum management body said on Wednesday.

Arsenio Mabote, chairman of Mozambique's National Petroleum Institute (INP), expected Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp would be among the bidders for a 20 percent stake in the Rovuma offshore field that has just been put up for auction.

"Shell would be good because of their experience with LNG," Mabote told Reuters on the sidelines of the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston.

LNG, which allows gas to be shipped to markets abroad, is a key plank in Mozambique's plan to make money from its newfound hydrocarbon wealth.

Shell was the top LNG producer among the world's biggest oil companies even before its $4.4 billion purchase of LNG assets from Repsol last week.

Rovuma is hot property after recent discoveries boosted Mozambique's gas reserves to around 150 trillion cubic feet, enough to supply Japan, the world's biggest importer, for 35 years.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp and an Indian billionaire who controls conglomerate Videocon Group have launched an auction of their Rovuma stake, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters this week.

Last year, Thai state oil company PTT Exploration and Production trumped Shell in a battle for Cove Energy and its 8.5 percent of Rovuma. The $1.9 billion price tag for Cove implies the stake now on offer could fetch $4.5 billion.

Sources had also named Exxon and Shell as potential buyers, along with PetroChina.
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