Eni is said to be negotiating the acquisition of the oil and gas producer Neptune Energy for about 5-6 billion dollars. As reported by Bloomberg, the Italian energy giant is working with an advisor to study the feasibility of an agreement.
The discussions are still in the preliminary stage. Neptune, backed by private equity funds Carlyle Group and CVC Capital Partners, may consider alternative options, including an IPO. Representatives from Eni and Neptune did not comment.
For Eni, the acquisition would allow it to expand its natural gas business, a key theme for its growth plans. The Group aims to increase the weight of gas to over 90% of its hydrocarbon production by 2050, while reducing the share related to oil and carbon emissions. About 75% of Neptune’s production comes from natural gas in the North Sea, North Africa and Asia, in regions where Eni already operates.
The operation fits into the context of a sector in turmoil. Carlyle is exploring a multibillion-dollar bid for a large part of Austrian energy company OMV’s oil and gas portfolio. Shell has reached an agreement to buy Nature Energy Biogas for nearly $2 billion, while BP recently closed a $4.1 billion deal to take over Archaea Energy.