Eni Confirms Gazprom Deal To Sell Libya Elephant Field Stake

ROME (Dow Jones)

Eni SpA (E), Italy's biggest energy company by market value, said Friday it has signed an accord with OAO Gazprom (GAZP.RS) to sell 50% of its stake in a Libyan field, reaffirming plans initially agreed a few days before the rebellion against Col. Moammar Gadhafi started.

In a statement Eni said the accord reaffirmed the deal announced Feb. 16, which laid the path for the sale to Russia's Gazprom of half of Eni's 33.3% stake in Libya's Elephant oil field.

Eni was the international oil company with the biggest operations in Libya before February's rebellion started and which decimated output of the North African country. Last month, the rebels overtook Tripoli and now control the vast majority of Libya.

Observers have expressed the likelihood that investors of countries such as Russia and China, which were lukewarm to the rebels' fight against Gadhafi, will see their access limited to Libya's untapped hydrocarbon market.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.