Italian oil and gas group Eni expects its output this year to improve thanks mainly to the gradual recovery of production in Libya which is expected to return to pre-conflict levels in the second half of the year.
Eni, the biggest foreign oil and gas operator in Libya, said on Wednesday 80 per cent of its production in the country was back on stream. Before the conflict in Libya Eni produced 270,000 barrels of oil per day.
The group, which is targeting an output growth of 3 per cent per year to 2014, said in a statement its oil and gas production in the fourth quarter fell 14 per cent to 1.68 million barrels per day.
Adjusted net profit in the period fell 9.5 per cent as high oil prices and increased Libyan production were offset by ongoing weakness in its gas and refining business.
The situation would not improve in 2012 when gas sales are seen essentially in line with the previous year, Eni said.
Eni's gas business has been impacted by long-term gas contracts where prices are locked in at levels higher than market spot prices.
The renegotiation of long-term gas contracts is seen as crucial for the group and after the successful completion of talks on Algerian gas the closing of the contract with Gazprom is key.
The group said it would pay a higher dividend on 2011 results of 1.04 euros per share.