VENTURES AFRICA  – Italy’s Eni SpA led Europe’s oil and gas sector in new discoveries in 2012, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported this week, as the oil giant’s reserves surged to an eight-year high.

The US influential daily newspaper reported it became evident that the company was a leader in these sectors after the oil giant replaced more of its proved reserves than any other major oil company in the region. The oil giant recently discovered large gas resources offshore Mozambique.

According to WSJ, last year proved that its reserves were at an eight-year high and it had discovered a record 3.64 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Eni’s organic reserve replacement ratio—the proportion of oil and gas produced in the year that was replaced by new resources— was 147 percent, WSJ reported. This compared with 110 percent at Norway’s Statoil ASA and the UK’s Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s 85 percent while Spain’s Repsol SA is yet to report figures.

Last year, Eni took a decision to upsurge its exposure to the making of oil and gas  by retailing its stake in Italy’s gas grid operator. It also sold part of its holding in Portugal’s biggest oil company.

Eni supported its stronger oil and gas output prospects for 2013 by increasing the dividend on last year’s earnings by 4 percent. This was despite the fourth-quarter net profit falling by a similar amount.

“2012 was a record year for exploration at Eni with discovered resources about six times yearly production thanks to our outstanding achievements in Mozambique,” WSJ quoted Eni Chief Executive, Paolo Scaroni, as saying. “The company will achieve industry-leading upstream growth rates in the coming years.”

WSJ reported that Mozambique—a recent debutante into the energy sector—has given a significant boost to Eni’s resources.

It is understood that the company’s 2012 exploration campaign in Area 4 of the offshore Rovuma basin has led to a “world-class discovery” called Mamba, the company said in a statement this week.

Eni estimates the full discovery potential of Area 4 is 75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, equivalent to 30 years of Italy’s gas consumption, according the newspaper.


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