Exxon Mobil, the US company is in talks with Eni to buy around 15% of the Italian major’s Area 4 gas field in Mozambique,  Reuters informed. According to The Wall Street Journal, the acquisition may amount to as much as 20% and could be announced in coming weeks. The terms of the deal, however, remain unclear.

The information came out one week after the Italian company Eni published its 2016-2019 business plan,  where it announced its intention to sell down stakes in recent major discoveries in this African country and in Egypt alike.

Exxon is seen as a front-runner to buy into Eni’s gas development. This would be the US firm’s first big acquisition since the oil price collapse.

Area 4, in which Eni holds a 50% operating stake, is located in Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin, where gas in place amounts to some 85tcf, which makes the area one of the richest gas discoveries of recent times. It will feed a series of onshore LNG export plants supplying mainly the Asian market.