Italian energy group Eni will continue to gradually shift its activity from oil to gas in the coming years, the group's chief executive said on Tuesday, adding the move has been one of the pillars of Eni's transformation strategy.
"An important point in our transformation and an element supporting the transition has been the gradual shift, which will continue in the coming years, from oil to gas and, more specifically, the focus on gas produced by us as opposed to gas purchased from third parties," Claudio Descalzi said.
The focus on gas produced by the state-controlled group in different geographies has allowed Eni to become an integrated energy company that has developed long-term relationships with the countries where it operates, in Africa in particular, Descalzi said, speaking at an event to celebrate Eni's 70 years of history.
In a video broadcast at the same event, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said Italy could aspire to become an energy gateway between Africa and Europe under the so-called 'Mattei Plan'.
Few details are known about the strategy, named after Eni's founder Enrico Mattei, but Meloni said the plan would help frame future policies to boost development in Africa as Italy also seeks to curb mass immigration.
Earlier on Tuesday, attending another event, Descalzi said that Eni and the other European oil and gas groups must continue to invest in natural gas exploration and production to reduce the use of coal and to avoid rising energy prices that would hit both small customers and industry.
(Reuters - Reporting by Francesca Landini Editing Mark Potter)