Eni Looks To Strengthen Ties With Rosneft, Maybe In LNG

VERONA, Italy, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Italian oil and gas group Eni is keen to strengthen ties with Russia's Rosneft and could forge a partnership in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector, its chairwoman said on Thursday.

In May this year, Eni extended a cooperation agreement with Rosneft to explore the Russian Barents Sea and the Black Sea, and consider further opportunities together.

"We are discussing a series of projects ... and are talking for a possible partnership in LNG," Emma Marcegaglia said at an energy conference.

Eni, which in recent years has uncovered around 115 trillion cubic feet of gas in Mozambique and Egypt, said earlier this year it was looking to develop its LNG business worldwide.

The state-controlled major recently sold a 30 percent stake in its giant Zohr gas field in Egypt to Rosneft and the Russian energy giant has an option to buy a further 5 percent.

Speaking at the same conference, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin said the Russian company was happy with its investment in Zohr.

"We are looking positively at the matter to realize this option," he said.

Sechin said Rosneft would start drilling activity with Eni, and Italian oil service group Saipem, in the Black Sea at the end of December.

Eni has three licences with Rosneft in the Black Sea and Barents Sea.

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes and Giancarlo Navach; Editing by Mark Potter)

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