HOUSTON, May 5 (Reuters) - Anadarko Petroleum Corp is not in talks to sell its multibillion-dollar stake in Mozambique's gas reserves and instead is working toward a final investment decision on the planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) project there, the company said on Tuesday.
"As it relates to Mozambique, we're not in discussions with anybody," Al Walker, Anadarko's chief executive officer, said in response to a question on the company's earnings call. "We've never hired a banker to run a process."
Anadarko, which has a 26.5 percent stake in the Area 1 license in the Rovuma Basin offshore Mozambique, is gathering the needed agreements and approvals, and a final funding decision is expected later this year or into next year, the company said.
More broadly, geopolitical uncertainty has caused crude oil prices to climb back to around $60 a barrel, up more than 30 percent from the year's lows. That rally has sparked talk of a recovery and prompted questions about which exploration and production companies are best prepared to get back to work after slashing budgets as much as 50 percent.
Walker said Anadarko was taking a cautious approach and would need to see sustained higher crude prices to return to growth mode.
"I think this will be one of the last companies you see trying to grow in a market where there's as much uncertainty as we believe there is," he said.
In March Anadarko said it was drilling but not completing an inventory of about 125 wells, a strategy it was taking to be ready to quickly bring on production when crude oil prices recovered.
Now, the Houston-based company told investors on its conference call, it would add another 25 drilled but not completed wells to its inventory if prices did not recover for a sustained period of time.
Shares of Anadarko, which reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss on Monday, fell 26 cents to $93.49 in late morning New York Stock Exchange trading.
(Reporting by Anna Driver; Editing by Terry Wade and Ted Botha)
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