Italy's Eni Wants to Reduce Oil Exposure with Asset Sales

©Dmytro Surkov/AdobeStock
©Dmytro Surkov/AdobeStock

Italy's Eni aims to reduce its exposure to oil in favor of natural gas and non-fossil fuels in part through asset sales, the energy group's CEO Claudio Descalzi said on Tuesday. 

Speaking at the Rome presentation of a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Descalzi added he could not comment on potential oil asset sales in the near term. Eni plans to generate 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) of net proceeds from the balance between asset sales and acquisitions between 2023 and 2026, the company said in its business plan. 

Last month, Eni announced the sale of some of its oil assets in Congo, just a few days after saying it had agreed to buy Neptune Energy. Descalzi said the acquisition would reduce Eni's average carbon intensity, since Neptune is focused on natural gas. 

The deal also provides an opportunity to expand the carbon capture and storage business of Eni's Vaar business in northern Europe. 

"This is why the acquisition of Neptune is not in contrast with the energy transition path," Descalzi said. Eni will attend the COP28 climate summit later this year in Dubai, participating directly in the event for the first time, the CEO said. 

The group will present its investment projects in Africa, including the development of renewable energy and the creation of agri-hubs to produce feedstock for its biofuel business, he said. In a recent assessment of efforts to meet the key Paris accord target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, IRENA said the energy transition was currently "off-track." 

In the report presented on Tuesday, the agency called for higher and more diversified investment by both public and private investors.

($1 = 0.9178 euros) 

(Reuters - Reporting by Francesca Landini Editing by Alvise Armellini and Mark Potter)

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