Algeria's Sonatrach eyes Mozambique gas assets

ALGIERS, April 30 Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:27pm EDT

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ALGIERS, April 30 (Reuters) - Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach is in talks to buy a stake in Mozambique offshore gas projects operated by Italy's Eni and Anadarko Petroleum Corp , its chief executive was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Sonatrach, seeking to expand its presence abroad, is also eying new gas blocks in the east African country, its chief Abdelhamid Zerguine was quoted as saying by the official APS news agency.

Zerguine was speaking after signing a Memorandun of Understanding with the head of Mozambique's Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonets (ENH), Nelson Ocuane.

Zerguine said Sonatrach was interested in buying part of a minority stake held by ENH in the offshore gas fields.

"We want to have a place, but on the Mozambican side," he said.

Zerguine did not give details on the size of stake Sonatrach was seeking to acquire, but said a 5 percent holding would cost it around $1 billion.

The memorandum also opened the way for Sonatrach to acquire exploration blocks in Mozambique.

"We agreed that Sonatrach will get prospecting blocks to explore alone or in partnership with energy companies operating in Mozambique," it quoted Zerguine as saying.

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