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Italian oil company Eni reports Q2 loss on sharp decline in oil prices

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MILAN — Italian oil and gas company Eni on Thursday reported second-quarter losses of 113 million euros ($124 million) amid a sharp decline in oil prices, but raised its forecasts on production this year as new fields come on line.

The loss compared with a net profit of 658 million euros in the same period last year. Eni cited a 44 percent drop in benchmark Brent crude oil prices, which hurt production revenues.

CEO Claudio Descalzi said in a statement that the impact of falling hydrocarbon prices was partially contained by restructuring of refineries and petrochemical plants.

Eni increased its full-year guidance to 7 percent growth in production, up from 5 percent, with new fields starting or ramping up in Venezuela, Angola, Congo and the United States, as well as higher volumes in Libya. The company also noted that it would soon start up the Goliat offshore field in Norway.

Second quarter production was 1.754 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, up nearly 11 percent from a year earlier. For the first half of the year, production was up 9 percent.

Eni share prices rose 1.6 percent in Milan trading to 16.10 euros.

Descalzi told an analyst conference call that Iran "potentially can play a strong role" in the oil and gas sector, but estimated it would have to invest more than 1 billion dollars to resume its production levels. He said the time frame was still unclear.

"I think that in the future we will need the Iranian production," he said, noting that lower energy prices were driving demand. "We don't know exactly now how much they can increase production."

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