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ENI in constant contact with rebels since April: Scaroni

25 august 2011, 12:42
Italian Energy group ENI has been in almost daily direct contact with the leaders of the Libyan rebels since April, AFP reports, citing the head of the oil group, Paolo Scaroni Wednesday.

"We met with the National Transition Council on April 3 and have been in constant contact since, intense and almost daily," he said in an interview with Corriere della Sera newspaper.

"We do not fear for ENI in Libya. But the immediate future is worrying, these transition phases are increasingly delicate and complicated," he said.

All ENI production in Libya is currently suspended, apart from the Wafa field, 500 kilometres (300 miles) from Tripoli, which supplies elecricity to the local population.

"The other plants are closed, our job is to make sure they are not damaged."

Scaroni said he had never been concerned that ENI could lose its contracts in the conflict-torn North African country.

"We were the first international business to meet the NTC," at the start of the series of talks organised with the support of the foreign affairs ministry.

"These are international contracts. Moreover, it's only logical to respect them. After every revolution, the first thing a new government does is to restart production," he said.

"And through the Greenstream pipeline, which supplies gas to Italy and Italy alone, we are permanently bound to the country," he added.

ENI has been present in Libya since the 1950s and was the country's biggest foreign energy operator before the conflict broke out, employing 2000 people in plants that produced around 15 percent of the company's total output.

Scaroni dismissed rumours that France would be rewarded for its early and decisive role in aiding the rebels with energy contracts in post-Kadhafi Libya.

"Thanks to our historic presence in the country, I do not think France will want to replace us," he said.

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