Eni Mulls Using Rights on Shell Nigeria Stakes

LONDON Dec 04, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Eni SpA (E) is weighing the possibility of using preferential rights to buy stakes being sold by Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) in their jointly-owned Nigeria blocks, people familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

Shell is considering selling stakes in two Nigerian offshore blocks operated by Eni as it restructures its operations in the country, people familiar with the deal said last month.

However, a person close to the matter said "being part of the joint venture, Eni knows the real value of the assets" and, as a result, "would be unlikely to overpay" for the stakes.

An Eni spokesperson confirmed that the Italian oil company has preemptive rights on the Shell interests but declined to comment further.

Shell's two stakes, each of 49.8%, are in deep water blocks OML-125 and OML-134, the latter formerly known as OPL-211. Agip, a unit of Eni, operates the blocks and owns the remaining 50.2% in each block.

China's CNOOC Ltd. (CEO) and Nigerian oil companies are considering buying the interests, the people familiar with the matter have said.

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