Busy days for Italian oil and gas giant Eni ranging from good to not so good news.
Eni is a second-tier supermajor with 1.9 boe/d oil and gas production and assets worldwide. Three parallel developments have characterized the last few days: new fossil investment, renewable plans and fossil heritage.
Billions for Norway and the Barent Sea: Vår Energi (68.6% ENI-owned) acquires ExxonMobil´s upstream assets in Norway for $4.5 billion. The deal comprises 150.000 boe/d production effectively doubling Eni´s equity production. Eni is now the second-largest oil and gas producer in Norway after state-owned Equinor (Statoil).
ExxonMobil, like other supermajors such as Chevron and ConocoPhillips, is disposing of non-core assets to raise cash and reduce risk. US supermajors are moving capital closer to home to invest in US shale basins, or in global LNG assets.
Eni has entered a far-reaching agreement with global renewables developer MainstreamRP to develop large-scale RE projects in the UK (offshore wind), Asia and Africa. The move mimics similar investments by oil majors.
Eni targets a 1.6GW renewable generation capacity by 2022 and 5 GW by 2025. In the same line: Eni´s JV with General Electric (ArmWind) recently won a 48MW wind auction in Kasachstan.
On a less positive note, Eni´s CEO Descalzi has come under investigation in the Congo and in Italy. Allegedly he did not close that an Eni business partner (Petroservice) is run by his wife. In addition, there are broader allegations of corruption in the Congo. Also, Eni is a defendant in a multi-billion corruption trial in Nigeria. Eni denies any wrongdoing.
High risk has been a familiar and, given the competition with much larger US and British/Dutch peers, almost inevitable concept for Eni (ex Agip) throughout its history: Starting from early groundbreaking arrangements with OPEC countries and Moscow in the 1960s, to high-risk field developments in Kasachstan (Kashagan) and very close links to Libya. Eni has been a dominant player in war-torn Libya since the 1960s producing almost half of its oil and gas. Libya today accounts for 15% of Eni´s total oil/gas production.
Today´s investment in Norway and in low-risk renewable alliances may be seen as a move to counter-balance other high-risk involvements across the globe.
This would be in line with strategies of many of Eni´s peers. Facing a low-price environment in oil and gas markets and fossil divestment demands in Italy, further steps may follow.