Russian gas company Gazprom has decided to exercise its call option to acquire the Russian oil and gas assets held by Italian energy companies Eni and Enel before the end of 2007, for more than $4.6 billion, reported Thomson Financial, citing Finanza & Mercati as its source.

The EniNeftgaz consortium, in which Eni and Enel hold a 60% and 40% stake, respectively, acquired a series of bankrupt Russian oil firm Yukos’s assets for $5.8 billion in April 2007. In addition, Eni holds a 20% stake in Gazprom Neft that it acquired independently, the report said.

Gazprom has a an option to acquire Eni’s 20% stake in Gazprom Neft and 51% of the Russian assets held by EniNeftgaz within two years, the newspaper reported.

According to Thompson Financial, Finanza & Mercati added that although Russian banks have been skeptical about Gazprom exercising its options due to a lack of funds, the company’s management has decided to go ahead with the scheme.