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Eni, Rosneft Boost Oil Exploration, Refining Cooperation

Italy’s oil major Eni SpA and Russia’s oil giant Rosneft signed on Wednesday an agreement to cooperate in oil and gas exploration and production, as well as in oil refining, petrochemicals, trading, and marketing, both inside and outside Russia.

The agreement—which Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi signed in Sochi where Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni—extends previous cooperation deals between Eni and Rosneft for joint exploration in the Russian Barents Sea and Black Sea.

The companies will use the extended agreement to seek further joint development opportunities, including in the giant Zohr gas field offshore Egypt which Eni discovered in 2015.

In December last year, Eni said it would sell to Rosneft 30 percent in the concession area where Zohr is located. Earlier this year the Italian group completed the sale of another 10 percent in the concession area to BP, and confirmed that production from the field would start in 2017.

Under the Eni-Rosneft cooperation agreement, the companies will consider further expanding their international cooperation, including the Zohr project and the potential for joint supplies of refined products to Egypt, Rosneft said in its statement.

Regarding cooperation in the downstream, the two firms will assess the potential use of Eni technology to process heavy oil residues at Rosneft refineries. In addition, the companies will discuss potential cooperation in refining at the German refineries in which both firms hold stakes.

Today’s cooperation deal is Eni’s second with a large Russian energy firm in recent months. In March, Eni signed an agreement with Russia’s gas giant Gazprom to jointly analyze the prospects for cooperation in developing the southern corridor for gas supplies from Russia to European countries, including Italy. Eni and Gazprom also agreed to work to update the Russia-Italy gas supply agreements and to consider possible partnership options in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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