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Eni SpA (E - Analyst Report) has won a deepwater exploration block in Egypt’s Eastern Mediterranean within the EGAS 2012 International Bid Round in Cairo, the country’s capital city.

Eni, through its 100% owned affiliate, IEOC, will operate Block 9 also known as Shorouk Offshore. Located in water depths ranging from 1,400 meters to 1,800 meters, Block 9 spans 3,765 square kilometers.

Eni’s presence in Egypt dates back to 1954. The recent block award secures the company’s position in the region even further. Currently, Eni is the largest foreign energy player in the country and produces about 234,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of oil and natural gas.

The Italian explorer expects its 2013 oil and natural gas production to be higher than the reported 2012 level, given the commissioning of major projects like Kashagan in Kazakhstan as well as other assets including the Angola liquefied natural gas and the gas assets in Algeria. Moreover, stepped-up production at the fields commissioned last year also raises our optimism on Eni’s assured profitability over the coming quarters.

Eni with its consolidated subsidiaries is engaged in oil and gas, electricity generation, petrochemicals, oilfield services and engineering industries. The company’s major business segments are Exploration and Production (E&P), Gas and Power, and Refining and Marketing.

The company conducts its major exploration and production activities for hydrocarbons. Eni SpA operates in Italy, Croatia, North Africa, West Africa, the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the Middle and Far East, the Caspian Sea, Australia and Latin America.

Eni carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell rating), implying that it is likely to underperform the broader market in the short term. However, Zacks Ranked #1 Range Resources Corporation (RRC - Analyst Report), EPL Oil & Gas, Inc (EPL - Snapshot Report) and Stone Energy Corp (SGY - Analyst Report) are expected to outperform the market over the next few months.

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