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Eni Refineries May Shut Down Following Judicial Orders

Eni S.p.A.’s E refineries may face complete closure following orders of a preliminary investigations judge to seize crude product measurement devices at the company's facilities in Italy. Per the company, the order that will halt refining and fuel supply operations is in connection with charges of tax evasion. 

The petroleum product measuring devices that have been seized by judiciary authorities will be tested for their integrity. Per Reuters, the authorities believe that the devices were tampered with to enable the state-run company sell more products than recorded, thus evading tax amounting to €10 million ($12 million).

The company has refuted any unlawful actions on its part. Moreover, to reduce the total impact of the shutdown, the company is planning to seek the authorities’ permission for using the devices.

The company conducts its refining operations in Italy through its wholly owned Sannazzaro, Livorno and Taranto plants. Eni also has 50% interest in Milazzo refinery, with Kuwait Petroleum holding the remaining stake. Moreover, the company has two bio-refineries in the country, Venezia and Gela. Also, the company held 24.3% share of the Italian refined products retail market last year, thus emerging as the leading player.

About the Company

Headquartered in Rome, Italy, Eni is a leading integrated energy player with its operations spread all around the world. Investors should know that Start-up of new upstream projects in Ghana and Angola as well as Indonesia have been supporting Eni's oil production growth.

However, increasing debt load is a reflective of the company’s weak balance sheet. Also, exploration expenses during the first nine months of 2017 increased 29.6% as compared to the year-ago comparable period. Moreover, Eni has gained 2.3% year to date, underperforming the 2.6% growth of its industry.

Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider

Eni currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the oil and energy sector include ConocoPhillips COP, Northern Oil and Gas, Inc. NOG and Denbury Resources Inc. DNR. All the stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Houston, TX-based ConocoPhillips is a major global exploration and production company. The company’s sales for 2017 are expected to increase 24.4% year over year. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 152.3% in the last four quarters.

Minnetonka, MN -based Northern Oil and Gas is an independent energy company. The company’s sales for the fourth quarter of 2017 are expected to increase 51.9% year over year. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 175% in the last four quarters.

Plano, TX-based Denbury Resources is an oil and gas company. The company’s sales for the fourth quarter of 2017 are expected to increase 4.8% year over year. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 125% in the last four quarters.

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ENI S.p.A. (E): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Denbury Resources Inc. (DNR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Northern Oil and Gas, Inc. (NOG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ConocoPhillips (COP): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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