Eni rejects proposal to sell gas network stake

Daily Star Egypt Staff
2 Min Read

DAMIETTA: Italy s Eni has rejected a proposal by the country s watchdog to have it sell its stake in Snam Rete Gas or Stogit, saying it would risk losing its leadership in the European gas market. Italy s energy regulator has suggested oil and gas producer Eni sell Snam Rete Gas, which operates the country s gas network, as part of the liberalization of the energy market to improve competition. If we have to give up Snam Rete or the storage facilities, our position as number one in Europe would be immediately compromised, Eni Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni told reporters on a weekend visit to a liquefied natural gas plant in this town on Egypt s northern coast. When the (energy) authority talks about this, it is entering unexplored territory, he said. Eni also owns the gas storage company, Stogit. Scaroni said Eni s peers, including Gaz de France, still operated pipelines for gas as well as storing it. Under the latest rules to open up the market, Eni must reduce its stake in Snam from 50 percent to less than 20 percent by the end of 2008. Italy s new government is already going ahead with plans to separate the distribution of gas from its production and set new antitrust limits. Scaroni said Italy ought to build more regasification plants because it would allow it to better negotiate with suppliers the price of the gas it has to import. Italy has one such plant. The plant in Damietta is owned and run by a joint venture whose members include Eni and Spain s Union Fenosa Gas. Reuters

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