* Says finds more gas off coast of Mozambique
* Golfinho is Anadarko's second major gas field in
* Raises stakes in takeover battle for Anadarko partner,
* Analysts say Shell could return with higher bid for Cove
* Cove shares up 2.3 pct
By Sarah Young
LONDON, June 11 (Reuters) - U.S. firm Anadarko Petroleum
Corp announced a further major gas find off the coast of
Mozambique on Monday, raising the stakes in the bid war for
London-listed partner, Cove Energy.
The takeover battle for Cove could now have further to run,
analysts say, with Royal Dutch Shell returning to the
fray after Cove last month agreed to a $1.9 billion offer from
Thailand's state oil firm PTT Exploration and Production
Cove's share price was up 2.1 percent at 267.5 pence at 1040
GMT, well above PTT's offer of 240 pence a share, and signalling
that investors continue to expect a higher bid to come.
Huge gas fields discovered off the coast of Mozambique and
Tanzania have thrust East Africa into the limelight as a future
new energy supplier to Asia, attracting the interest of major
oil firms anxious not to miss out on a slice of the action.
Anadarko said on Monday that it could expand its current
development plan for Mozambique after its discovery of a second
major gas field in the Offshore Area 1 block. Following the
latest discovery it now reckons the block could hold between 30
and 60 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable gas.
Around 10 trillion cubic feet of gas would be enough to meet
an entire year's gas consumption by Europe's four biggest
economies combined -- Germany, France, Britain and Italy.
Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production and Shell want to
buy Cove because it has an 8.5 percent stake in the Mozambique
block where Anadarko as licence operator plans to build large
plants to ship the gas abroad as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Bernstein analyst Oswald Clint said he continues to expect
Shell, which said it was considering its options after PTT
trumped its offer for Cove in May, to return with a higher
"Extra gas in the ground might tempt them to act sooner
rather than later," he said.
Canaccord Genuity analyst Braden Purkis also noted that the
new gas field, the Atum-Golfinho complex, is located entirely in
Anadarko and Cove's block, rather than extending into a
neighbouring exploration area, like the first field.
"It makes Shell's decision a bit easier," he said.
In addition to Anadarko's discoveries, Italy's ENI
has also made huge finds offshore Mozambique, while others
including Britain's BG Group and Exxon Mobil have
made significant finds to the north in Tanzania.
Anadarko said Atum-Golfinho, which is situated north of its
Prosperidade field, could contain between 10 and 30-plus tcf of
gas, raising volumes from the 20 tcf estimate it gave in May
after Monday's second successful exploration well on the field.
Japan's Mitsui and Indian groups Bharat Petroleum
and Videocon are also partnered with
Anadarko in the block.