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Shell chief is the man with a plan

By Geoff Foster: PUBLISHED: 21:54, 27 July 2012

You would like to think that Royal Dutch Shell’s chief executive Peter Voser had a  ‘Plan B’ when he surprised everyone in the City by walking away from a £641m cash bid for Cove, allowing Thailand’s PTT Exploration to win the day.

Of course he did. Speculation is now rife that he is in advanced talks with his counterpart at Anadarko, the US explorer, about the possible acquisition of some or all of its 36.5 per cent stake in the Rovuma-1 offshore gas fields in Mozambique. The major attraction of Cove was its 8.5 per cent stake in the Rovuma block.

Acquiring all of Anadarko’s stake could cost Shell in the region of £5bn, and concerns over spending such a hefty amount of cash saw Shell’s shares sold down to 2118p at one stage before they recovered to close 2p dearer at 2139.5p.

Voser is hell-bent on buying into East Africa, as are other oil majors. They all see significant resource potential in the region, with Mozambique offering the biggest prize.

In May, Anadarko found a major new gas field offshore Mozambique. The Golfinho  discovery in the north apparently may hold more than 20 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Earlier this week Shell reported a 13 per cent drop in second-quarter earnings to £3.6bn with weak energy prices a big factor in the decline.


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