Italy: Rewards from Rivals

Long on nerve if sometimes short of cash, Italy's state-owned petroleum combine, ENI (for Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi), elbowed its way into the international petroleum business by adventurous gambles. Buying huge shipments of Soviet oil, it also offered cut-rate competition to Western oil majors for drilling and refining rights in Africa, Asia. Just over a year ago, ENI created a subsidiary, Snam Progetti,* to build refineries, pipelines and petrochemical plants—even for rivals. Quickly catching on, Progetti is now busy with $360 million of construction projects on four continents. Last week the yearling firm opened a U.S. branch in Manhattan, partly at...

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