Italian oil giant Eni is in the early stages of deliberations for the sale of up to 30% of its Ivory Coast exploration operations, reported Bloomberg, citing sources.  

The potential deal could fetch approximately €1bn for the Milan-headquartered company. 

According to sources, Eni is working with Standard Chartered on the potential deal, which has attracted interest from other energy companies, including those from Asia. 

Although in early stages, the potential sale of the stake aligns with Eni’s four-year strategy to raise approximately €8bn through asset disposals. 

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi is steering the company towards a “satellite model”, which involves spinning off divisions and seeking external investors, with the intention of eventual listings.  

This strategy was applied in the listing of Eni’s renewable unit Plenitude and is anticipated for its biorefining and mobility division, Enilive.  

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The company’s involvement with the Ivory Coast dates back to the 1960s.  

Last November, Eni committed to investing $10bn to develop the Baleine field off the Ivory Coast’s east coast.   

The field, which started production in August 2023, has certified reserves of 2.5 billion barrels (bbbl) of oil and 3.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.  

Additionally, Eni recently announced the Calao discovery, with preliminary estimates suggesting it could hold 1–1.5bbbl of oil equivalent. 

The news comes after Eni divested a 10% stake in oilfield services provider Saipem for €393m.  

Post-transaction, Eni retains around 21.19% of Saipem, with 12.5% included in a shareholders’ agreement with CDP Equity, a subsidiary of the Italian state lender CDP.