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Italy's ENI, Petrochina in tie-up, focus on Africa

by Staff Writers
Milan (AFP) Jan 21, 2011
Italian gas and oil giant ENI said Friday it has signed a cooperation accord with its Chinese peer PetroChina covering China and international prospects, especially in Africa.

"ENI signed today a memorandum of understanding with CNPC/Petrochina (covering) a large range of possible opportunities in China and on the international level," the Italian company said.

The two sides will "study in particular opportunities to jointly develop their operations in conventional and non-conventional hydrocarbons in Africa," it said.

Petrochina will also "consider the potential acquisition of a stake in certain ENI assets," it added, without giving further details.

In turn, ENI will give Petrochina, state-owned and one of China's largest companies, access to its experience in developing shale gas deposits in North America to allow it to review similar assets in its home territory.

The accord allows for technological cooperation, especially on the development of what are known as non-conventional oil and gas resources, among them shale gas, a sector which has boomed in the United States.

ENI said the tie-up with Petrochina is part of its strategy of strengthening its presence in the Far East whose booming economies led by China are driving global demand for energy and other resources.

China, second only to the United States as an energy importer, has in recent years sought to diversify its supplies overseas, with a special focus on Africa where it has invested huge amounts of money to develop oil and other raw materials resources.

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