October 24, 2018 / 5:22 PM / a year ago

Rosneft's Sechin calls reports of Eni withdrawal 'lies'

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Igor Sechin, the head of Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft (ROSN.MM) said on Wednesday that reports of a withdrawal by Italy’s Eni (ENI.MI) from joint projects were “lies” and that cooperation between the two continues as normal.

Sechin was responding to earlier reports carried by Russian news agencies, citing an unnamed Russian government official, that Eni has pulled out of a joint venture with Rosneft in the Black Sea, and was considering suspending a project with Rosneft in the Barents Sea.

“Our cooperation with Eni continues as planned. They have not withdrawn from any projects. Work continues, and continues according to our agreements,” Sechin said.

“Geological exploration was conducted on the Black Sea and now no more actions (there) are needed,” Sechin added.

Asked about the situation, Eni said it confirmed comments made to the media by the Kremlin earlier on Wednesday, when Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte met his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev. The Kremlin said that Eni had pulled out of the joint venture projects with Rosneft in the Black Sea but not in the Barents Sea.”The meeting yesterday with Sechin was very cordial and was an opportunity to take stock of the projects we have in common, such as the super Zohr field in Egypt, and of possible future scenarios, obviously in full respect of international regulations,” Eni representatives said.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes and Olesya Astakhova; Writing by Polina Ivanova and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Kirsten Donovan

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