MILAN Exxonmobil (XOM.N) said on Thursday it had agreed to buy a 25 percent stake in the giant Mozambique gas field of Italian major Eni (ENI.MI) for about $2.8 billion.
Eni, which is selling stakes in a number of fields to fund development of other projects, is currently the operator of Mozambique's Area 4 where it holds a 50 percent indirect stake held through Eni East Africa.
The field holds about 85 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and is one of the world's largest gas discoveries in recent years.
Under the deal Eni will continue to lead all upstream operations in the area, while ExxonMobil will be in charge of building the onshore liquefied natural (LNG) gas plants.
The Italian major said it will remain in charge of building the floating LNG plant in the Coral field, which is part of Area 4.
The area 4 project envisages the construction of onshore and offshore LNG plants to export the gas to areas such as India and Asia.
In 2013 Eni sold 20 percent of its Area 4 stake to China's CNPC for $4.2 billion but since then oil and gas prices have come down sharply.
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes)