UPDATE 1-Eni: oil, gas exports from Libya's Mellitah terminal not halted

Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:02am EDT

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MILAN Oct 29 (Reuters) - Exports of oil and gas from the Mellitah terminal in Libya have not been halted, the head of Italian oil and gas group Eni said on Tuesday.

Sources said on Monday that oil exports at the terminal had been suspended due to a protest by the Amazigh group, or Berber tribesmen, demanding more political rights.

"There is social unrest but it's not true there is a block of exports (at Mellitah)," Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni said on the sidelines of a conference.

Mellitah is a joint venture owned by Libya's National Oil Corp. (NOC) and Eni.

"It's a complex situation but there is no force majeure in place," Scaroni said. He said gas exports were not halted and later added that oil exports were not suspended.

Eni, the world's No. 6 oil major by volumes, is the biggest foreign oil company in Libya. It produced around 270,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day before the 2011 revolution.

Production disruptions in the country prompted it in August to cut its yearly projections.

Libya's oil exports have dropped to less than 10 percent of capacity as protests halt operations at western ports and fields, frustrating government efforts to end a three-month stranglehold on the industry.

Scaroni also said Eni is interested in taking part in new bidding rounds in Libya: "We will do it but not at the moment"

State-controlled Eni is due to report third-quarter results on Wednesday with analysts pointing to production difficulties in Libya, Egypt and Nigeria as problems.

The Italian government is mulling the sale of a 4.3 percent stake it holds in the company but has not taken any decision as yet, Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato said at the same conference.

"Our intention is to keep control of the company," Zanonato said.

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