Eni CEO Says One of Eni Hostages in Nigeria Freed

Feb. 21, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

One of Eni SpA's (E) technicians being held hostage in Nigeria by militants has been freed, Eni Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni said Wednesday.

The hostage is the Lebanese national who has been in the hands of Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta militants since Dec. 7.

He didn't provide further details. He was speaking at a university conference. Italian newswires reported that the release was also confirmed by "sources at Italy's Foreign Ministry."

Gunmen attacked a southern Nigerian oil installation belonging to a subsidiary of Eni Dec. 7, killing one person and taking three people hostage, officials said.

Since the beginning of 2006, militant groups have attacked pipelines and taken workers hostage in violence that has cut crude output by about 25% in Africa's largest oil producer. Nigeria would normally produce about 2.5 million barrels a day.

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