The two oil companies have been discussing such a deal, which could be worth up to $4 billion, for at least six months, news wire Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified sources.
Eni may sell up to 20% of a gas block off the emerging East African hydrocarbons player, Bloomberg continued.
Eni has had a large amount of success in Area 4 off Mozambique with numerous high-impact gas discoveries.
CNPC and listed arm PetroChina have been mooted as likely entrants into the Mozambique market: earlier this week the latter was linked with the possible purchase of 20% stake in the Rovuma gas discovery off the country from US independent Anadarko and India’s Videocon Industries.
Others linked with the potential deal, set to be worth up to $4.5 million, include ExxonMobil, Shell with India’s state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India rumoured to be mulling a joint bid.
Last year, Thailand’s state oil company PTT Exploration & Production, PTTEP, trumped Shell in a hotly contested battle for Cove Energy to gain its 8.5% stake in the field. The $1.9 billion price tag for Cove implies the stake now on offer could fetch about $4.5 billion.
Recent discoveries off Mozambique have boosted its offshore gas reserves to around 150 trillion cubic feet, with a regional LNG project also encompassing Eni’s neighbouring finds in Area 4 set to get off the ground in 2018.