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ENI demands $10 billion from Statoil in arbitration: report

The logo of oil company Eni is pictured at its San Donato Milanese headquarters near Milan February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

OSLO (Reuters) - Italian energy firm ENI (ENI.MI) is demanding 60 billion Norwegian crowns ($10.1 billion) from Statoil (STL.OL), claiming it overcharged for natural gas over several years, Norwegian business daily Dagens Naeringsliv said on Friday.

ENI announced in August that it had started arbitration proceedings against Statoil to secure a significant price cut, but did not give any detail on its claim at the time.

Statoil and ENI could not immediately be reached for comment. A Statoil spokesman told the paper he would not comment on individual cases but said that arbitration was only a neutral party review of events in light of market conditions.

ENI in August said it had already concluded negotiations with Russia's Gazprom (GAZP.ME) and Algeria's Sonatrach, its key suppliers, and Statoil was the most difficult party.

The dispute stems from a 1997 supply agreement that ties natural gas prices to oil, the newspaper said.

Gas prices have fallen sharply across Europe in recent years as the continent's economic slump reduced demand, forcing many firms to idle gas fired power stations.

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Mark Potter)