ENI Could Exercise Pre-Emptive Rights for Caspian Project

Eni said it would also exercise its pre-emptive rights if existing partners make a similar move, a senior Eni executive said on Friday. Investors in the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement have until Friday to pre-empt CNOOC's deal to buy half of a 16.7-percent stake held by BG Group for $615 million. "If someone exercises (pre-emptive rights), everyone will do it," said Stefano Cao, head of exploration and production at Eni after a first-quarter results news conference. Cao declined to say whether Eni had already exercised its right to buy the shares being sought by the Chinese companies. He earlier said Eni "will never agree to being diluted" in the project.

Another Chinese firm, Sinopec Group, has agreed to buy the other half of BG's stake. Those shares can be pre-empted until May 17.

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