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Oil and gas explorer and producer AWE Ltd has received a third takeover proposal, this time from Mitsui and Co, in a development that has pushed AWE shares up more than 16 per cent.

Mitsui has made a non-binding and conditional proposal for all of AWE’s shares, at 95 cents each, which values AWE at about $594 million.

Shares in AWE closed 14 cents, or 16.47 per cent, higher at 99 cents.

In December, AWE recommended that shareholders accept a proposal from Mineral Resources to acquire AWE in a cash-and-shares deal that valued AWE shares at around 83 cents per share.

Earlier, China Energy Reserve and Chemical Group (CERCG) launched a takeover bid for AWE at 73 cents per share.

AWE has advised shareholders to take no action on the CERCG offer.

AWE said on Monday that the Mitsui proposal is conditional upon AWE terminating a scheme implementation deed with Mineral Resources by February 2.

The Mitsui proposal requires a unanimous recommendation of acceptance from AWE directors.

“The AWE board will evaluate the Mitsui proposal and provide shareholders with a recommendation in due course,” AWE said in a statement on Monday.

“The AWE board advises shareholders to take no action in relation to the Mitsui proposal or the CERCG offer until they receive further advice from the AWE board.”

AWE’s most valuable asset is the Waitsia gas field in the Perth basin.

Sydney-based AWE says the field is the largest onshore gas discovery in Australia for 40 years and has the capability to supply about 10 per cent of Western Australia’s domestic market needs.

AWE also has interests in the BassGas and Casino projects off Victoria and 50 per cent of the Santos-run Ande Ande Lumut oilfield in Indonesia.