Italian Assets Sale on Hold Due to Offshore Drilling Curbs

ROME (Dow Jones Newswires), July 28, 2010

The expected sale of Eni's Italian hydrocarbon assets is on hold as a result of the country's restrictions on offshore drilling, said Chief Financial Officer Alessandro Bernini Wednesday.

The sale of these assets is on "hold," said the CFO, who was speaking on a conference to discuss Eni's second-quarter results.

At the end of April, Eni Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni said he expected the sale of the assets to Gas Plus to close in the following weeks.

The assets involved are Societa Padana Energia and Societa Adriatica Idrocarburi. The sale is part of Eni's efforts to reduce net debt and focus on international assets.

At the end of June, the Italian government introduced a decree that prohibits the drilling in Italian waters within five miles of the coastline as a reaction to BP's oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Government decrees, which have immediate effect, need parliamentary approval within 60 days in Italy.

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