ENI Gazprom deal ‘good business’ not squeeze

Eni has denied being squeezed out of Russia, after Gazprom bought it out of a major oil subsidiary. Gazprom paid more than twice the market price, but says that is a great buy.

For 20% of Gazprom Neft, Moscow's energy giant hands over more than $4 billion. practically doubling its estimated market value. Gazprom will also buy 51% of Eni's Russian investment vehicle Severenergia.

Gazprom Deputy CEO, Aleksandr Medvedev claims they're good deals.

“We should not look at the current stock market price. This asset has big potential to grow and if the stock exchange will play the role of reflection of real business, not of speculative business, then we're rather sure that Gazprom Neft and Gazprom will get the proper valuation.”

Analysts IHS Global Insight say it's terrible business. Credit-crunched Gazprom needs that money. The smart move would let Eni's sell option expire and give them other Russian energy stakes, diversifying two-state ties. ENI CEO Paolo Scaroni claims that's happening.

“We are already in oil and gas, and we're going to be more in oil and gas in Russia. We progress with our agreements with Gazprom, but the news of the day is that we have extended our agreements to other energy companies in Russia such as RAO UES, Transneft or of course Rosneft, so our cooperation is getting larger.”

But Eni doesn't detail a single specific project. That mirrors Gazprom's takeover of BP's Kovykta gas field. As part of the deal BP was promised a face-saving $3 billion worth of joint ventures. 22 months later, not a single deal has been announced, as analysts point to political pressure meaning Russia's grip on natural resources can only strengthen.