Italian oil major Eni resumes talks to acquire Neptune Energy

Italian oil major Eni has resumed talks to acquire independent producer Neptune Energy, after a first round of discussions over a potential takeover last year, Reuters reported.

A new round of conversations reportedly started between the two companies in recent weeks, the news agency said, after initial talks that took place in December last year did not yield an outcome.

Eni is considering an offer price ranging between $5 billion and $6 billion, sources cited by Reuters stated.

Neptune is active in a number of countries including the UK, Norway, Algeria, the Netherlands and Indonesia — where it has upstream operations shared with Eni.

Independent Neptune produced some 142,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter of 2023, most of which was natural gas.

Neptune is owned by Beijing’s sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation — which holds 49% equity — and private equity funds including the Carlyle Group and CVC Capital Partners. The upstream independent is headed by executive chairman Sam Laidlaw, the former chief executive of Centrica.

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Italian major Eni has reportedly been particularly interested in Neptune’s upstream assets in the North Sea and Indonesia.

The two companies are partners in Eni’s Maha ultra-deepwater gas and liquids field development offshore Indonesia, for which the final investment decision is expected this year.

It seems that Eni might not be the only suitor for Neptune. French supermajor TotalEnergies earlier this year was reported by Bloomberg as weighing up a bid for private equity-backed Neptune, while Harbour Energy has also been touted as a potential acquirer by industry souces.

Neptune declined to comment, and Eni did no respond to questions by Upstream.