Italian oil major Eni's CEO Claudio Descalzi gestures during a news conference to present an agreement on research in alternative fuels and carbon-cutting technologies in Rome, Italy, November 21, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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In less than 12 months Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi has turned the Middle East from a sideshow to a strategic hub for the Italian energy major.In the latest deal Sunday, Eni pledged $3.3 billion to buy part of the world's fourth-biggest refinery in the UAE, increasing its own refining capacity overnight by more than a third.But the buying spree is not over and the company is looking to further bolster its presence in the Gulf region, according to three banking and industry sources with knowledge of the matter.They said Eni was now primarily targeting "upstream" exploration assets -- oil and gas fields -- rather than downstream operations.While majors like BP, Total, Shell and Exxon have had a strong presence in the Gulf for decades, Eni has not.
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