Monday, August 26, 2013

Anadarko to Sell Stake in Gas Field Off Mozambique

August 25, 2013, 10:09 p.m. ET

Anadarko to Sell Stake in Gas Field Off Mozambique for $2.64 Billion


Anadarko Petroleum Corp. APC +0.60% said Sunday that it has agreed to sell a stake in a natural-gas field off the coast of Mozambique to a subsidiary of India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp. 500312.BY -1.11% for $2.64 billion.

The Woodlands, Texas, energy-exploration company had said for months that it was looking to sell a portion of its interests in Mozambique's deep-water Rovuma Basin, which is estimated to contain 35 to 65 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.

Sunday's all-cash sale to ONGC Videsh Ltd., which an analyst said puts the highest value yet on the Mozambique natural-gas project, will reduce Anadarko's working interest in the area to 26.5% from 36.5%.

Anadarko and its partners, as well as Italian oil company Eni SpA, ENI.MI +2.29% which operates an adjacent field, expect the project to begin delivering liquefied natural-gas cargoes in 2018. Anadarko will continue to work as the project's operator.

"This transaction demonstrates our continuing ability to create substantial value through exploration," Anadarko Chief Executive Al Walker said in a news release. ONGC Videsh representatives couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

East Africa has become one of the world's most promising areas for energy production in the wake of large natural-gas discoveries off the coasts of Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya. Oil and gas companies that want to buy their way into the discovery have found it comes with a high price tag.

Earlier this year, Royal Dutch Shell RDSB.LN +1.03% PLC revealed that it had been in talks with Anadarko to buy a stake in the Mozambique natural-gas project, but pulled out, finding the price too high.

Last year, Shell tried to access Mozambique gas by attempting to acquire Cove Energy PLC, which also had a stake in the offshore Mozambique gas field, but was outbid by Thailand's PTT Exploration & Production PTTEP.TH 0.00% PCL.

The deal will be ONGC Videsh's second venture into Mozambique, an area the company considers to be strategically important to meeting India's demand for liquefied natural gas.

In June, ONGC Videsh said it would join with Oil India Ltd. 533106.BY +0.46% to acquire Videocon Industries Ltd.'s 10% stake in the field for $2.475 billion. ONGC Videsh said at the time that the acquisition would help boost production and reserves.

Anadarko said it will use the money to focus on extracting oil from unconventional formations in the U.S. in states such as Colorado and Texas, as well as the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, where the company has had a string of large oil finds.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Scott Hanold said Anadarko has frequently sold interests in other large projects that require years of work between discovery and production in order to earn income more quickly. The price being paid for the stake confirms the value of Mozambique's offshore natural-gas fields, he said.

"There have been a number of large successful discoveries by [Anadarko] and its partners over last few years in Mozambique, so I don't think quality was ever a question and this price certainly confirms that," Mr. Hanold said.

The price suggests that Anadarko's full stake, prior to the sale, was worth more than $9.6 billion, Anadarko said.

Write to Alison Sider at

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