MILAN, July 29 (Reuters) - Italian oil group Eni swung to a net loss in the second quarter on lower oil prices and a production shutdown at a key field in southern Italy, missing expectations.
The company said its adjusted net loss in the quarter was 290 million euros ($322 million) compared to a net profit of 505 million euros the previous year. That was below a Thomson Reuters estimate for a profit of 59.6 million euros.
Low oil prices have taken their toll on earnings at most of the major oil companies. Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Statoil reported worse-than-expected second-quarter results this week.
"The miss is big and provides reason for uncertainty rather than commitment," Santander oil analyst Jason Kenney said.
By 0738 GMT, Eni shares were down 1.5 percent while the European oil and gas index was down 0.2 percent.
"The results are not good news, but longer term I think the market can take heart from the group's production outlook," Mediobanca analyst Alessandro Pozzi said.
Eni, which reported a 2.2 percent fall in output in the second quarter, said it expected production for the year to be in line with last year, boosted by ramp-ups and start-ups in Norway, Egypt, Angola, Venezuela and Congo.
"Our main developments are proceeding on time and on budget, allowing us to confirm our expected production growth of more than 5 percent in 2017," CEO Claudio Descalzi said.
Since 2008, Eni has discovered around 2.4 times what it actually produces, compared with a rate of just 0.3 times for its rivals.
It has made major gas discoveries in Mozambique and Egypt that have increased its reserves and has discovered more than 12 billion barrels in the last 7 years, mostly in Africa.
The company is looking to sell down its stakes in its Area 4 field in Mozambique and its giant Zohr acreage in Egypt to help to fund development.
The group, which said it would pay an interim dividend of 0.4 euros per share in line with expectations, said cash flow in the first six months fell 51 percent to 3.1 billion euros.
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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