• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

Eni considered leaving Nigeria, now no longer an option

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Italian oil and gas group Eni said it had thought of leaving Nigeria because of the problem of oil theft there, but the possibility is no longer on the table.

Bunkering, or the theft of oil by siphoning off crude from pipelines to sell on the black market, has prompted Eni on various occasions to shut down production in Nigeria.

“We are thinking, we thought of leaving Nigeria,” Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni said in a parliamentary hearing in Italy’s upper house.

An Eni spokeswoman later said the oil major had in the past thought of leaving the country but added it was not now an option under consideration.

Oil theft in Nigeria has been a continuous thorn in the side of the Italian state-controlled firm. Disruptions in production in Nigeria, as well as in Libya, led to a 29 percent fall in its fourth-quarter operating profits last year.

Scaroni told the parliamentary hearing that Eni had produced around 110,000 barrels of oil per day in Nigeria last year, compared with a potential for 170,000 barrels per day.

Eni, the biggest foreign oil and gas group in Africa, is currently producing around 80 percent of its maximum potential in Libya, Scaroni added.

Reuters