Eni signs deal with Quicksilver to boost shale footprint


MILAN, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Eni has signed a deal withQuicksilver Resources to explore and develop onshoreshale oil reservoirs in the United States as the Italian oil andgas group looks to expand its non-conventional energy footprint.

In a statement on Tuesday, Eni said it would pay up to $52million to take a 50 percent stake in Quicksilver acreage in theLeon Valley area in west Texas.

"The Leon Valley acreage is located in the prolific DelawareBasin, where current production amounts to nearly 500,000barrels of oil equivalent per day, both from conventional andunconventional reservoirs," Eni said.

In 2009, Eni clinched a strategic alliance with Quicksilverfor onshore shale gas designed to give it experience to searchfor shale gas worldwide.

Eni Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni has on several occasionssaid Europe should develop its own shale industry if it is toavoid being overly dependent on Russia.

State-controlled Eni has shale gas deals in place in Polandand Algeria and could be set to sign an agreement in Ukraine.

In September, Ukrainian Energy Minister Eduard Stavytskysaid Eni had expressed interest in exploring gas deposits on theBlack Sea shelf and last week Scaroni metUkraine's president.

Ukraine signed a $10 billion shale gas production-sharingagreement with U.S. energy major Chevron on Tuesday inthe country's second such deal this year.

Eni currently produces more than 90,000 barrels of oilequivalent per day in the United States.

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