Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:43AM
Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi
Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi

Italy’s Eni is keeping its foot on the ground in Iran after major rival Total’s signing of a $5 billion gas deal with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) earlier this month.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi says his company is not in a competition for presence in the Islamic Republic, having already clinched deals to develop the country’s Darkhovin oil and Kish gas fields.   

“We are happy that Total is in Iran. We are not competing to be the number one,” national daily business newspaper Italy Europe 24 quoted him as saying Saturday.

Total became the first European oil company to sign a deal with the Islamic Republic in more than a decade, leading a consortium to develop Iran’s giant South Pars which is the largest natural gas field in the world.

Descalzi said, “We have been the only company operating in Iran for 15 years and we are still there. Eni as well has signed an agreement, a month and a half ago, with Iranian oil company NIOC, to develop oil and gas fields.” 

From left to right: Former Italian FM Paolo Gentiloni, former Economic Development Minister Federica Guidi, Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi and Iran's Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh at the Ministry of Petroleum in Tehran. (Photo by Shana)

Iran and Italy have signed deals potentially worth billions in sectors including energy, railways and defense. Italy's export agency and state lender has pledged billions of euros in credit lines and guarantees.

Earlier this month, Iran’s state railway company and its Italian counterpart FS signed a deal worth 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to build a high-speed rail line between the Iranian cities of Arak and Qom.

Electricity and gas distributor Enel, oil contractor Saipem, steel firm Danieli, infrastructure firm Condotte d'Acqua, rail and road company Gavio, and airplane manufacturer Finmeccanica are the other Italian companies which have undertaken big ticket investment plans in Iran.