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Italy's Eni to Sell Stake in Russian Gas Venture for $2.9Bln

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Italian energy giant Eni said Wednesday that it had agreed to sell its 29 percent stake in Russian natural gas producer SeverEnergia for $2.94 billion to a consortium of Russian oil giant Gazprom Neft and independent gas producer Novatek.

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) – Italian energy giant Eni said Wednesday that it had agreed to sell its 29 percent stake in Russian natural gas producer SeverEnergia for $2.94 billion to a consortium of Russian oil giant Gazprom Neft and independent gas producer Novatek.

The deal cements Gazprom Neft and Novatek’s control over SeverEnergia, in which state-owned oil champion clast week bought a 19.6 percent stake for $1.8 billion.

“With this sale, Eni monetizes its investment in Siberian upstream assets,” the company said in a statement, noting that it would be paid in cash upon completion of the transaction.

Eni and Enel bought 49 percent of SeverEnergia in 2007 during an auction of gas assets formerly controlled by Yukos, the oil company that was broken up after the arrest of owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The deal will give Gazprom Neft and Novatek control of just over 80 percent of SeverEnergia, which Novatek estimates to have 1.35 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves.

Rosneft, which became the world’s largest listed oil company after the acquisition of TNK-BP last year, is expanding aggressively into Russia's gas production industry.

Russian media reports have suggested that a struggle for control over SeverEnergia has soured relations between Rosneft’s head, Kremlin heavyweight Igor Sechin, and the billionaire owner of Novatek, Gennady Timchenko, who is rumored to enjoy a close relationship with President Vladimir Putin.

 

 

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