(EnergyAsia, February 28 2012, Tuesday) — Thai state upstream company PTTEP has offered to acquire UK-listed Cove Energy plc for £1.196, or nearly US$1.9 billion, surpassing Royal Dutch Shell’s competing bid of US$1.6 billion submitted earlier last week. (US$1= £0.63).

Shell is expected to raise its price this week for Cove Energy, which holds an 8.5% stake in Mozambique’s Rovuma Offshore Area 1 that operator Anadarko claims holds as much as 30 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas reserves.

The Thai off of 220 pence for each Cove share, listed on London’s AIM exchange, exceeds Shell’s by 13%.

Cove also has a 10% stake in the Rovuma onshore area, and between 10% and 25% interests in seven blocks in the deepwater areas off Kenya.

Anon Sirisaengtaksin, President and CEO of PTTEP, said Cove Energy and its upstream interest in Rovuma represents a strong fit for the Thai company which is looking to develop its liquefied natural gas (LNG) value chain.

“The proposed transaction would mark PTTEP’s entry into East Africa. PTTEP is dedicated to using its extensive experience in building a natural gas based economy for the benefit of the Republic of Mozambique and its people,” said PTTEP.