LONDON May 29 Mozambique has approved
Bangkok-based PTT Exploration and Production's $1.9 billion bid
for UK-listed Cove Energy, the companies said on Tuesday,
removing the risk Maputo could block the bid in favour of a
lower one from rival Royal Dutch Shell plc.
Cove has an 8.5 percent stake in massive gas finds offshore
northern Mozambique. Project leader Anadarko Petroleum
plans to build large plants to freeze the gas to liquefied
natural gas (LNG) for export in ships.
PTT sees Cove as an opportunity to secure energy resources to
help power Thailand's economy. Shell hopes Cove will be a
springboard to a major presence in east Africa.
Mozambique's government had given its approval for Shell to
buy Cove and an official within Mozambique's minerals ministry
told Reuters the government preferred a buyer with LNG
PTT had never previously built an LNG export plant, leading
some Cove shareholders, mainly hedge funds after three months of
Shell and PTT bidding and counterbidding, to fear a bar on the
This could have forced them to accept Shell's $1.8 billion
bid. The government approval paves the way for continued
bidding, which most shareholders had expected.
Cove shares closed at 257 pence on Tuesday, ahead of PTT's
240 pence per share bid.