ROME–Eni SpA Thursday said its chief executive officer has expressed interest in assessing the exploration potential of hydrocarbons in Somalia, as Italy’s biggest energy company by market value expands in presence in Africa.
Paolo Scaroni met Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Rome, where Mr. Scaroni highlighted Eni’s experience gained in Africa, the company said in a statement. Somalia is a former Italian colony.
Hopes that Somalia might finally be on the path to stability rose in September after Mr. Mohamud, an engineer and former academic, was elected as president. Somali government forces, backed by African Union troops, continue to battle Islamic militants from the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab group that until recently had controlled large parts of the lawless country.
Africa’s is Eni’s most important continent for hydrocarbon production and where it has struck its biggest natural gas find ever.
Beginning in 2010, Eni has made a series of gas finds in offshore Mozambique, a new player in the hydrocarbon world, where a 100% success rate in exploration has lead to estimates of as much as 87 trillion cubic feet. The Italian company is expected to take a final investment decision on Mozambique in 2014.
Eni’s current daily production in sub-Saharan Africa is about 450,000 barrels of oil equivalent, or more than 25% of its average output in the second quarter of the year.