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Eni is interested in buying Yukos asset with Russian partner

Eni SpA, Europe's fourth-largest oil company, may bid for assets belonging to OAO Yukos Oil Co. to expand in Russia. The Rome-based company is interested in Arctic Gas Company, a unit of bankrupt Yukos, an Eni spokesman said. Prime Minister Romano Prodi told reporters Sept. 3 that it is in Italy's interest to bid on assets belonging to Yukos. He said the issue was raised in talks with President Vladamir Putin during a June 20 visit to Moscow. Prodi said the Yukos asset was handed over to OAO Gazprom which will sell the company. Eni, Italy's largest oil and gas company, and Enel SpA, the country's biggest power generator, are jointly interested in acquiring 49.9% of Arctic Gas, La Stampa reported yesterday. The Italians' partner would be ESN Group, a Russian investment company, and Eni would own 30% of Arctic energy, with Enel owning 19.9%, according to the report. While energy companies are seeking new sources of oil, natural gas is also in high demand. Much of western Europe's gas supplies in January fell short amid cold weather following a dispute over the fuel between Russia and Ukraine, a major transit point for countries like Italy and Germany. Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni is negotiating with Gazprom to buy Russian oil and gas resources in return for Gazprom gaining access to Italian retail clients. The company may also help construct a $2.5 billion natural-gas liquefacation plant near St. Petersburg in a partnership with Gazprom. (Bloomberg)