Enel pairs with Egypt on exploration

Enel and Egypt's Ministry of Petroleum signed a memorandum of understanding on oil and gas exploration in Egypt where Italy's biggest utility aims to boost resource supplies.

Enel will cooperate with the ministry to identify new areas for exploration and potential opportunities for Enel to get new concessions, in addition to its entry last May in a consortium led by France's Total related to a concession in the Nile Delta.

Under the new agreement, Enel aims to take part in the coming bid rounds to explore new gas and crude oil in open areas and farm in an existing concession area either sharing or replacing existing contractors, it said in a Reuters report.

Under earlier agreements in Egypt, they also aim to expand in the liquefied natural gas sector and power generation there.

Enel's chief Fulvio Conti said separately that his group has received a dozen offers for the Spanish gas distribution grid owned by its unit Endesa and aims to finalise the sale by the end of this year.

Enel, Europe's most indebted utility, aims to complete a series of planned asset disposals this year, including the sale of Endesa's high voltage grid in Spain to Red Electrica to cut debt and keep its credit rating.

Gas distribution network is worth about 700 million euros while high-voltage grid is worth between 900 million euros and 1 billion euros, according to a market source.

Conti also said Enel does not plan to issue bonds in the short term and the group's financial situation is under control.

"We have refinanced out debt in an adequate way in the past years: 80 percent of it is fixed rate. We are calm in the face of financial turmoil and continue to manage cash flows. We do not need to issue bonds in the short term," Conti said.

Speaking earlier on Tuesday in Rome, Conti said Enel's plans to build four nuclear power plants in Italy would not suffer delays after the recent resignation of Italy's Industry Minister Claudio Scajola, the main driving force behind Italy's nuclear renaissance efforts.

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