The CEO of global energy giant, Eni has said that Italy is ready to invest in Africa. Reuters reports that during a political event in Rome, Claudio Descalzi, the CEO of Eni, on Saturday, December 16, expressed Italy’s readiness to invest in Africa for two primary reasons.
Firstly, to acquire the necessary energy resources vital for Italy’s economic growth. Secondly, to address and manage the issue of migration flows.
Note that Eni is Italy’s largest importer of natural gas and a state-controlled energy multinational. It has faced reduced supplies from Russia since 2022.
To counter this decline, Eni increased the transportation of gas from Africa, leveraging its established presence on the continent-spanning several decades.
Descalzi also highlighted the potential advantages of forging stronger connections between Italy and Africa. He cited China’s significant involvement in Africa over the past three decades, primarily focused on securing oil, gas, and critical materials.
Italy aims to establish similar ties, potentially benefiting both parties through economic partnerships and resource acquisition.
- “Italy is ready to invest in Africa, this is also a necessity because energy is now flowing from south to north and we need to be the ones guiding this flow for our sake and Africa’s sake.”
The Nigerian context
In September 2023, Eni announced a proposed deal with Oando PLC, a prominent Nigerian energy solutions provider, involving the sale of Nigerian Agip Oil Company Ltd (NAOC Ltd), which is Eni’s wholly owned subsidiary focusing on onshore oil and gas exploration, production in Nigeria, and power generation.
The proposed deal is dependent on the approval of government regulatory agencies.
NAOC Limited operates across four onshore blocks (OML 60, 61, 62, 63) in Nigeria. It manages these blocks as part of the NAOC Joint Venture, where NAOC Ltd owns 20%, Oando owns 20%, and NNPC E&P Limited owns 60%.
Additionally, NAOC Ltd is involved in the Okpai 1 and 2 power plants, with a combined capacity of 960 megawatts (MW), and operates two onshore exploration leases (OPL 282 and OPL 135, with ownership percentages of 90% and 48% respectively).
Eni is not leaving Nigeria
However, it is important to note that Eni is not selling its 5% stake in the SPDC JV, which is operated by Shell. Eni also clarified that it would continue its operations in Nigeria, focusing on offshore activities it manages independently.
The company will also maintain its involvement in assets operated by others, both onshore and offshore, as well as its participation in Nigeria Liquefied Nigeria Gas (NLNG) Limited.
This transaction aligns with Eni’s strategic plan for 2023-2026. It aims to bolster organic growth with strategic acquisitions that bring added value while divesting resources that could potentially offer more significant opportunities to new owners.
The completion of this deal is contingent upon obtaining authorization from all relevant local and regulatory authorities.