MILAN – Italian oil major Eni could sell stakes in its oil and gas fields in Mexico and Indonesia in the next stage of its asset sale strategy, the company said on Friday.
“Mexico could be the next step … a 30-40 percent dilution is something that could be achieved,” finance chief Massimo Monduzzi said in a conference call for third-quarter results.
Under its so-called “dual exploration” strategy, Eni aims to sell down stakes in fields it operates to raise cash to fund future development and support dividends.
The state-controlled company, the biggest foreign oil and gas producer in Africa, was the first major to cut its dividend in 2015 after a steep fall in oil prices.
Eni expects to cash in 3.7 billion euros this year in disposals after completing the sale of a stake in Mozambique to Exxon Mobil by the end of the year.
“Indonesia could be the next target (for a sell down),” Monduzzi told analysts.
Eni, the world’s most successful explorer in recent years after finding two super-giant fields in Egypt and Mozambique, owns oil fields in Mexico which it considers the next frontier.
It is operator in two big fields in Indonesia, including 55 percent-owned Jangkrik which it says will produce 83,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
This year it sold 30 percent of its Shorouk concession in Egypt to Rosneft for $1.1 billion and agreed to sell 25 percent of Mozambique’s Area 4 to Exxon for $2.8 billion.
“We want to maintain operatorship (in Mexico and Indonesia),” Monduzzi added.
The group originally planned to sell its retail gas and power division as well as its chemical unit Versalis but has since decided to hang on to them.
“An IPO of Versalis is not on the table,” Monduzzi said.
Earlier on Friday, Eni confirmed its production would grow by 5 percent this year to 1.84 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (mboe/d), while investments would fall 18 percent.
Production in the third quarter rose 5 percent to 1.8 mboe/d, lifted in part by the restart of fields in Libya.
The group said it expected output to rise to 1.9 mboe/d in the final quarter despite a delay in ramp-up at its giant Kashagan field to next year.
Adjusted net profit in the quarter reached 229 million euros ($267 million), compared with an adjusted loss of 484 million last year, Eni said. That was below an analyst consensus provided by the company of 350 million.
Adjusted operating cash flow was 1.72 billion euros against 2.28 billion in the second quarter.
“In 2017 we expect to achieve organic coverage of investments and dividends, entirely paid in cash, at a Brent price of $60 a barrel,” CEO Claudio Descalzi said in a statement.
At 1202, Eni shares were down 1.7 percent at 13.69 euros in a European sector up 0.6 percent. ($1 = 0.8591 euros)
Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by David Holmes and Mark Potter(Reuters)