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Exxon Mobil to explore offshore South Africa

IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Exxon Mobil is set to begin exploring for oil and gas off the shore of South Africa.

Exxon's affiliate in the country, ExxonMobil Exploration and Production South Africa Ltd., signed a deal with a subsidiary of Impact Oil & Gas Ltd. to buy a 75 percent stake in an exploration area of the east coast of South Africa. It will also become the operator of the region, which covers about 2.8 million acres offshore with water depths extending from the coastline to around 6,500 feet.

Exxon's affiliate also has the right to buy a 75 percent stake in future exploration rights in three offshore regions. The rights and Exxon's ability to purchase then are subject to approval from the South African government. The future exploration rights cover an additional 16 million acres offshore.

Exxon Mobil Corp. shares rose 40 cents to $88.48 in afternoon trading.