Italy: Oil company Eni 'has returned to Libya and will regain prominent role'

Eni, the largest foreign oil company operating in Libya before civil war broke out, has returned to that country to restart wells as Muammar Gaddafi's government Monday appeared on the brink of collapse after rebels captured large parts of the capital,Tripoli, Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said.

Speaking in an interview on Monday with Italian state television Rai, Frattini said Rome-based Eni will return to the role it played as Libya's main oil producer prior to the fighting that began in February.

"The facilities had been constructed by Italians...and therefore it is clear that Eni will play a No. 1 role in '' Libya's future, Frattini said.

Eni in July said due to the conflict, production from Libya has fallen to around 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day from 280,000 barrels.

Italy was Libya's biggest trading partner before it supported UN-mandated military action by Nato forces to protect civilians from attack by Gaddafi's armed forces and to enforce a no-fly zone.

[Source: IGN, ADNkronos, Roma, 22Aug11]

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