French firm TotalEnergies is looking to takeover oil and gas explorer Neptune Energy Group, reported Bloomberg News citing people with knowledge of the matter.

TotalEnergies has held early stage talks with Neptune about a potential takeover, according to sources.

Earlier, Bloomberg had reported that a potential sale of Neptune could fetch more than $5bn.

Italian firm Eni earlier expressed interest in Neptune Energy but the move waned due to price expectations.

Neptune Energy holds oil and gas production assets across North Africa, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

TotalEnergies is currently in deliberations over a potential takeover of Neptune Energy. There is certainty that the French firm could proceed with an offer, according to the people.

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Neptune, which is owned by the China Investment Corporation (CIC), the Carlyle Group, and CVC Capital Partners, has operations in Norway, Indonesia, Algeria, and the Netherlands, among others.

The company has a production capacity of approximately 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).

Neptune’s owners have been working with advisers including Goldman Sachs Group and Rothschild & Co to gauge options for the company, including a potential sale.

Recently, Neptune Energy signed a deal with UK-based Eserv to create digital twin software for two platforms in the Dutch North Sea.

3D technology company Eserv agreed to digitise the D15-A and K12-C platforms that are located offshore Netherlands.