However, the speculation that talks had hit a stumbling block was scotched by the Italian side. Sources close to Eni said that the discussions on a long term arrangement were ongoing, although no agreement seems likely in the near future.

Eni’s CEO Paolo Scaroni told a parliamentary committee that the discussions would in all likelihood last a ‘very long time’. The two sides aim to reach a consensus over Russian gas imports to Italy and various collaborations in Russia’s upstream gas sector.