January 29, 2018 / 4:03 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-Statoil quits talks over stake in Mozambique offshore gas block

(Adds detail, background)

OSLO, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Norway’s Statoil said it has pulled out of negotiations to take a 25.5 percent stake in a gas block off Mozambique, citing a lack of progress after more than two years of talks.

Statoil, Eni, South Africa’s Sasol and Mozambique’s national oil and gas company ENH were awarded the exploration rights in the A5-A block within Mozambique’s Northern Zambesi basin in 2015.

“Statoil has decided to disengage from negotiations on block A5-A in Mozambique... We are not part of this any more, it is up to the other partners to make any moves regarding the stake,” Statoil spokesman Erik Haaland told Reuters on Monday.

The lack of progress in the negotiations and an unfavourable business environment prompted Statoil’s decision, Haaland said.

The future of the joint venture after Statoil’s withdrawal lies with the remaining partners, he added. “If they want to continue, there are mechanisms in the bidding process allowing them to do so.”

The block, covering a total area of 5,145 square kilometres (1,987 square miles), was seen as having “significant hydrocarbon resources”, Eni said in 2015.

After quitting its bid for A5-A, Statoil has no further assets in Mozambique, which is in the throes of a debt crisis but has large untapped natural gas reserves. (Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; Editing by Nerijus Adomaitis and Susan Fenton)

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