<a href=Eni CEO” height=”200″ src=”https://www.offshore-technology.com/wp-content/uploads/static-progressive/nri/offshore/Paolo_Scaroni,_April_2012.jpeg” style=”padding: 10px” width=”301″ />

China National Petroleum (CNPC) has signed an agreement with Italian energy producer Eni to acquire a 20% share in the Area 4 natural gas field, offshore of Mozambique, for $4.21bn.

As part of the agreement, Eni will own 50% interest in the block, while Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos de Mocambique, Kogas and Galp Energia will each hold ten percent stakes.

Eni said the closing of the transaction is subject to approval from Mozambique’s authorities and fulfilment of certain standard conditions.

According to Bernstein Research, Area 4 has potential reserves of 75 trillion cubic feet of gas, which is equivalent to about four years of total gas demand in Europe, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Eni’s CEO, Paolo Scaroni, was quoted by the publication as saying that the company is considering selling more of its stake in the Area 4 field, but will retain its operatorship.

"According to Bernstein Research, Area 4 has potential reserves of 75 trillion cubic feet of gas."

In a press statement, Eni said that CNPC’s entry in Area 4 is important for the project, due to the global significance of the company in the upstream and downstream sectors.

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By GlobalData

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), natural-gas demand in China is expected to reach 545 billion cubic metres, between 2011 and 2035.

China’s 12th five-year plan noted that domestic production capacity in the country has expanded slowly; while imported gas will surpass 35% of Chinese demand by 2015, compared with only 15% in 2010, reported the newspaper.

Image: Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni said the company has plans to sell more of its stake in the Area 4 field. Photo courtesy of Government.ru.