Eni to sell TAG pipeline in $986 million deal

MILAN Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:15am EDT

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MILAN (Reuters) - Italian oil and gas group Eni (ENI.MI) said on Friday it had agreed to sell its stake in the TAG gas pipeline in a deal worth 675 million euros ($986 million), fulfilling a commitment under a European antitrust ruling.

In September, European Union regulators dropped antitrust charges against Eni after it agreed to sell gas pipelines worth some 1.5 billion euros.

Eni, the target of an antitrust investigation by the European Commission since 2007, offered last year to sell its Transitgas and TENP pipelines on the market and its TAG pipeline to a public entity while keeping transport rights.

In a statement, Eni said it had agreed to sell its 89 percent stake in TAG to state-owned Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) for 483 million euros in cash plus repayment of a loan Eni granted TAG worth 192 million euros.

The TAG gas pipeline transports Russian gas into Italy and is considered strategic by the Italian government.

Over half of Italy's electricity is generated by gas-fired power plants.

Eni said after completion of the deal, which is subject to approval by the EU antitrust commission, the ship-or-pay contract it signed with TAG will remain in force.

The TENP and Transitgas pipelines carry gas from northern Europe. In March sources told Reuters Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) is preparing a bid for Transitgas, valued at up to 1 billion euros.

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

($1=.6846 euros)

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