19 March 2014, News Wires – Italy’s Eni does not expect sanctions against Russia over its actions in Crimea to stop the oil and gas group importing Russian gas, the company’s chief executive said on Tuesday.
On Monday, the United States and the EU imposed sanctions on a handful of officials from Russia and Ukraine accused of involvement in Moscow’s seizure of the Black Sea peninsula, Reuters reported.
“Europe needs Russian gas,” Paolo Scaroni told the BBC, adding that relations with Russia would continue as they were at present as far as gas supplies were concerned.
Scaroni said Eni had concluded talks with the previous Ukraine government over an exploration block for oil and gas in the waters off the Crimea.
“We are in the middle of being assigned a block without knowing who it belongs to,” he said, adding the group had not yet made any bonus payment for the right to explore.
Asked if energy assets could be nationalised by Crimea, Scaroni said it was still early days. “But I don’t think so,” he said.
Eni, which has shale gas exploration rights in Ukraine, is one of the biggest gas clients of Russian gas giant Gazprom.
Italy, which imports around 90% of its gas needs, currently receives well over 50% of its imported gas from Russia.