Italian oil giant ENI has signed an agreement to sell 28.6 percent of its subsidiary Eni East Africa, which owns the Area 4 natural gas field in Mozambique, to China National Petroleum Corp, the country's largest oil producer, for $4.21 billion.
The transaction will allow state-controlled CNPC to acquire a 20 percent stake in the Area 4 field, while Eni remains owner of a 50 percent stake.
The remaining shares in the Area 4 field are held by Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos de Mocambique, Kogas and Galp Energia, each controlling 10 percent.
"CNPC's entrance into Area 4 is strategically important for the project thanks to the worldwide relevance of the new partner in the upstream and downstream sectors," a statement
ENI and CNPC will also jointly study shale gas exploration in China's Sichuan basin, according to the statement. If the gas can be commercialised, the two companies will discuss the terms of a production sharing contract.
China is looking to feed energy demand while reducing its reliance on coal.
Pollution in Beijing has risen to record levels, sparking criticism of the government's management of the environment.
The purchase will be the biggest deal involving an Asian company announced so far this year and CNPC's largest overseas purchase ever, according to Bloomberg.
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