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BG, Statoil, ExxonMobil Further Boost East African Gas Resources

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BG, Statoil, ExxonMobil Further Boost East African Gas Resources

LONDON - BG Group PLC Monday said it had completed an appraisal program that further confirmed the natural gas resource and production potential offshore Tanzania, underscoring East Africa's importance as one of the energy industry's hottest new regions.

Separately, Statoil ASA and partner ExxonMobil Corp. announced Monday their third discovery in Block 2 offshore Tanzania.

The mounting volume of gas discoveries off the coast of East Africa has stimulated a wave of interest in the region, culminating in China National Petroleum Corp.'s $4.21 billion acquisition last week of 20% of Eni SpA's giant Mozambique offshore natural gas field.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has also attracted interest from several companies including Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, India's state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Oil India Ltd. with the offer of a share of its natural gas discoveries offshore Mozambique, people familiar with the matter told Dow Jones Newswires last week.

BG Group said testing on its Jodari-1 field offshore Tanzania showed better-than-expected reservoir properties, demonstrating that wells could produce at higher rates. BG Group holds a 60% interest in the discoveries offshore Tanzania, with Ophir Energy holding 40%.

"The test results confirm the Jodari reservoir's world-class quality; and the potential for the field to underpin the LNG development," said Nick Cooper, chief executive of U.K.-listed Ophir Energy PLC. Mr. Cooper was referring to a liquefied natural gas terminal that could be part of gas development in Tanzania.

BG Group is in the process of selecting a site for an onshore LNG terminal. The capacity of the terminal will be determined by further exploration and appraisal results across the company's three offshore blocks. BG estimates the total resource in Tanzania at nearly 10 trillion cubic feet.

Statoil said its latest Tanzania find brings recoverable gas volumes now discovered in the country to between 10 trillion and 13 trillion cubic feet. "[This] brings further robustness to a future decision on a potential LNG project", said Statoil's executive vice president for Exploration, Tim Dodson.

Statoil has a 65% stake in the discoveries, with Exxon Mobil holding the remaining 35%.

Eni and Anadarko have also said they are studying plans to build a LNG plant in Mozambique. Analysts say the region is well-placed to serve growing energy demand in Asian markets.

Kjetil Malkenes Hovland in Oslo contributed to this story.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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