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Italian Eni eyes $4.3bn from asset sale in Nigeria, others

Italian energy group Eni SpA is looking to raise more than €4 billion ($4.3bn) from disposals in its global upstream business, people familiar with the matter said.

Italy’s Eni and China’s Addax have struck deals to sell assets in Nigeria in recent years, joining Shell which said in March it would divest from Nigeria’s troubled onshore oil sector alongside ExxonMobil.

Oil firms have long complained about insecurity in the Niger Delta, pipeline vandalism and crude theft as well as recent oil legislation which overhauled fiscal terms in the sector.

The sales would be part of a broader strategy of disposing of €8 billion in assets over the next three years.

Some of the units that could be candidates for the asset sale plan include some operations in Indonesia and Cyprus, said the people, asking not to be named discussing confidential deliberations.

The dual approach drawn up by Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi would see Eni divest assets including smaller projects that could be attractive to local buyers, while also weighing sales of stakes in some major projects, according to the people.

A representative for Eni declined to comment.

Eni has signaled it wants to gradually cash out of oil and gas-related activities to finance its energy transition plan, and Descalzi is pursuing a so-called satellite model splitting off divisions and partnering with external investors, with the goal of eventually listing them.

That would include businesses like renewables specialist Plenitude and biorefining and mobility arm Enilive.

The company could potentially raise from €850 million to €1 billion through the sale of Alaskan assets to U.S.-based Hilcorp, while a similar amount could be raised by selling a 30 per cent stake in Ivory Coast operations, the people said.

Taken together, upstream the portion of business including identifying, extracting and producing is targeted to account for more than a half of Eni’s future asset disposals, the oil major said in its most recent business plan.

Eni is also planning a reorganization of its upstream activities in Italy to regroup them into a single unit, the people said, though discussions on the shift are ongoing and no final decision has been made.

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