World Bulletin / News Desk
Italian energy company ENI will pay Mozambique's government $350 million in capital gains tax after selling part of its stake in a gas field to Exxon Mobil, it was revealed late on Tuesday.
The sale concerns Area 4 of the Rovuma basin gas field, the southern African country’s Tax Authority (AT) announced.
Tuesday's agreement was sealed in Mozambique’s capital Maputo after four hours of talks between the Italian oil giant and the government.
The amount represents 32 percent of part of the $2.8 billion deal between ENI and Exxon Mobil for a 25 percent stake in Mozambique's offshore gas field which holds an estimated 85 trillion cubic feet of the fuel.
AT spokesman Anibal Balango said: "This is the amount we agreed after … hard talks. As you may know, according the mining and petroleum law we have to charge for all business stakes on assets in the country by foreign companies in particular."
According to the AT, the talks are now following the final procedure and are expected to end "as soon as possible".
Mozambique’s Area 4 gas field is shared by local company ENH, Korea Gas Corp. and Galp Energia, with 10 percent stakes each, while ENI and Exon Mobile hold 35 percent each.
The capital gains tax to be paid by ENI is seen as a relief for Mozambique's budget which has been severely affected by donors’ decision to halt foreign aid.
As Mozambique has no sovereign fund for extraordinary income, the tax will be immediately used to fund current deficits in the national budget, which had risen to 11 percent of GDP.