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ENI signs memorandum with Libya's NTC


Italys Eni has signed a deal with Libyas rebel government aimed at quickly restarting its oil and gas operations in the country following concerns it could lose its dominant position to rivals.

Eni was the largest foreign oil producer in the north African country before the civil war and is keen to mend relations with rebel leaders, after hesitant Italian support for the uprising in its early stages.

"The memorandum is confirmation of the solid relations between Eni and the NTC (National Transitional Council) who are evaluating various possible forms of co-operation to ensure the timely resumption of operations in the oil and gas sector," Eni said.

The agreement followed a meeting in Benghazi between members of the NTC and Eni chief executive Paolo Scaroni.

Scaroni's trip to the eastern rebel stronghold was widely seen as an effort to secure Eni's stake in a post-Gadaffi Libya.

The country has Africa's biggest oil reserves and its crude accounts for 13 per cent of Eni's revenue. Eni said the company and the NTC were committed to a fast and complete resumption of Eni's oil and gas operations.

Under the deal, Eni will supply refined oil products to the NTC to meet the immediate needs of the Libyan people.