Eni expects binding bids for Australian gas assets by end November: sources

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Italian energy company Eni is seen at a gas station in Rome, Italy September 30, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

MILAN/LONDON (Reuters) - Eni ENI.MI and its adviser Citi expect binding bids for the Italian energy group's gas assets in Australia by the end of November in a deal that could raise around $1 billion, two sources said.

Indonesia's Medco Energi Internasional MEDC.JK and a consortium comprising Australian fund Macquarie and Neptune Energy are working on bids, the sources said. Morgan Stanley Infrastructure has also expressed an interest, one person said.

“The sale has generated limited interest,” one of the sources said.

The Australia sale is part of Eni’s plans to sell non-core assets to raise cash after the global downturn triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, and its drive to focus on cleaner fuels.

“The sale will not include the solar assets the group has there,” one source said.

The oil and gas major is also looking to sell assets in Pakistan and the Congo, one of the sources said, without giving further details.

Eni, Neptune and Macquarie declined to comment. Medco and Morgan Stanley were not immediately available for comment.

Eni operates a series of offshore gas fields in the north of Australia and has stakes in four exploration licences. It owns the Blacktip Gas Project and has stakes in the Bayu-Undan gas and condensate field and the associated Darwin LNG plant.

Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi is looking to turn the oil and gas company into a greener business, focusing on clean low-carbon products.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes in Milan and Clara Denina in London; Additional reporting by Fransiska Nangoy in Jakarta; Editing by Jan Harvey