Thai oil giant PTT said on Wednesday it had struck a deal to buy East Africa-focused Cove Energy for £1.22 billion ($1.92 billion, 1.50 billion euros), trumping a rival offer from Royal Dutch Shell.
PTT Exploration & Production PCL (PTTEP) increased its cash offer for Cove to 240 pence a share, from an earlier bid in February of 220 pence, it said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.
"PTTEP and Cove are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash offer," the group said.
"The board of Cove ... considers the terms of the acquisition tobe fair and reasonable."
The deal is a blow to Royal Dutch Shell, which last month said it had reached an agreement to buy Cove Energy for £1.12 billion, or 220 pence per share.
PTT added that Cove directors had withdrawn their previous recommendation for the Shell offer, and would unanimously recommend that shareholders accept its bid.
A Shell spokesman declined to comment on the counterbid when approached by AFP.
"The bid from PTTEP represents significant value for shareholders and confirms the world-class nature of Cove's East African assets," Cove Energy chief executive John Craven added in the statement.
PTT and Cove are already partners in several East African energy projects including a promising gas field off the coast of Mozambique.
"We are delighted to have announced a recommended offer to acquire Cove and all its assets," said PTTEP chief executive Tevin Vongvanich.
"This acquisition illustrates our commitment to leveraging the LNG (liquefied natural gas) value chain of the PTT Group and is consistent with our long-term strategic priorities."