Italian company Eni and Qatar Petroleum (QP) have signed an agreement under which the Qatari national oil company will acquire a 13.75% share in the exploration blocks L11A, L11B and L12 offshore Kenya.

The proposed acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals by the Government of Kenya.

Blocks L11A, L11B and L12 are located in a largely unexplored area in the Lamu basin east of Kenya in water depths ranging from 1,000 metres to 2,700 metres. The three blocks cover a surface of about 15,000km² and have a high exploration potential.

Currently, Eni has a 55% stake in the blocks and Total holds the remaining 45% interest. Eni is acting as the operator of the blocks. Qatar Petroleum will acquire a 25% interest in each of the blocks, of which 13.75% will be acquired from Eni and the remaining from Total.

Following such approval, the partners comprising the joint venture will consist of Eni (the operator) with a 41.25% participating interest, Total with a 33.75% participating interest, and Qatar Petroleum with a 25% participating interest.

The Kenyan blocks deal is the last of a series of agreements entered into with Qatar Petroleum, which reinforces the evolving strategic cooperation between the two companies. Both companies are already partners in Oman, Mexico, Morocco and Mozambique.

Eni has been present in Kenya since 2014 through its subsidiary Eni Kenya.

Minister of State for Energy Affairs and Qatar Petroleum president and CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said: “We are pleased to sign this agreement to participate in exploring these frontier offshore areas in Kenya and to further strengthen our presence in Africa.

“We hope that the exploration efforts are successful, and we look forward to collaborating with our valuable partners Eni and Total, and the government of Kenya in these blocks.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Kenyan authorities and our partners for their ongoing and continued support.”