Italy’s Eni and BP merge operations in Angola

The deal creates the country’s largest producer, with stakes in 16 licences

The merger is part of BP's and Eni's shift towards renewables and low-carbon energy. Reuters
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Eni and BP have completed a deal to merge their oil and gas operations in Angola, the groups said on Friday.

It will create a company called Azule Energy that is expected to be Angola’s largest producer, with stakes in 16 licences and in the Angola liquefied natural gas joint venture.

Azule Energy will also take over Eni’s stake in Solenova, a solar company jointly held with Sonangol of Angola.

Earlier, three sources said the two groups were close to raising about $2.5 billion in financing to help to fund the joint venture and were also close to a separate agreement for Eni to buy stakes in Algerian gas plants.

The two companies last year announced plans to combine their Angolan businesses into a self-funded company with oil and gas production of about 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

The merger is part of the two companies' overhaul of their oil and gas businesses as they shift towards renewables and low-carbon energy in the coming decades. It will also help them to reduce debt.

Under a separate deal, BP is close to selling to Eni its stakes in two major gas ‎developments in Algeria – In Salah Gas and In Amenas, the sources said. The value of such a deal is unclear.

One of the sources said the companies were in advanced talks. BP and Eni declined to comment on Algeria.

The two sides have struggled to agree on a way to balance the value of their Angolan assets as Eni's operations and oil and gas reserves are bigger and hold a larger value than those of BP, two of the sources said.

The statements issued by both companies on Friday said BP's gross assets in the deal were worth about $6.8bn at the end of 2021, while those of Eni were worth $7.3bn.

The change of ownership at the two gas plants in the south of Algeria will help Eni to develop Algeria's energy infrastructure and export gas to southern Europe by pipelines, the sources said.

Italy is looking to increase gas imports from Algeria to help reduce its reliance on flows from Gazprom following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. To do that, Algeria needs to increase its upstream gas production.

Eni, which holds long-term gas contracts with state-owned energy company Sonatrach, has long ties with Algeria. Last year, it signed a series of accords aimed at increasing production there.

Italy, which has one of Europe's biggest gas transport networks, is regarded as a future bridgehead into Europe for gas – and zero emissions hydrogen – produced in North Africa and beyond.

Updated: March 13, 2022, 4:09 AM