By Stephen Jewkes
MILAN (Reuters) – Italian oil major Eni <ENI.MI> stuck to its targets on Friday, despite reporting a worse-than-expected net loss in the third quarter as a result of lower oil prices and a domestic production shutdown.
Commitments by OPEC last month to restrain output to boost prices have helped buoy sentiment in the industry but Eni, like other oil companies, is still feeling the impact of a fall in crude prices of more than 50 percent since mid-2014.
Eni said in a statement that its adjusted net loss in the quarter was 0.484 billion euros (434 million pounds), versus a forecast from analysts, which was provided by the company, for a loss of 0.07 billion euros.
In the same period last year Eni posted a net loss of 0.127 billion euros.
The state-controlled major, which confirmed it would cut investments this year by 20 percent, said it expected oil and gas output for the year to be substantially in line with 2015.
Production in the quarter rose 0.4 percent to 1.71 million barrels per day.
“The strategies and targets of the group, including disposals, are confirmed,” CEO Claudio Descalzi said.
Eni is looking to raise a total of 5 billion euros in asset sales over the next two years to help fund growth.
Sources have said U.S. giant Exxon Mobil <XOM.N> has clinched a deal with the company to buy a stake in its giant Area 4 gas field in Mozambique.
(Editing by Alexander Smith)