MILAN, Italy, April 15 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni said it aims to transport as much of the oil it has stored in a Libyan port to terminals in Venice as possible.
Libyan rebel leaders last week said they were in discussions with several European energy companies regarding possible oil shipments. They suggested they reached deals with Qatar and Italy to deliver oil from Libyan ports.
A spokesman for Eni was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying the company was trying to get much of the oil it has stored in the western Mellitah terminal in Libya to ports in Venice.
"We are trying to lift as much equity oil as possible," the spokesman was quoted as saying. "No specific time frame is available, but we hope to have one (tanker) in a few days."
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini announced April 4 that Rome recognized the opposition Libyan National Transitional Council as the legitimate leader of the Libyan people.
France and Qatar had already recognized the transitional council as the legitimate authority in Libya.
Frattini said the recognition was part of an effort in Rome to start discussing oil operations with rebel leaders in Libya. Italy was Libya's largest trading partner.
Libya was one of the top oil exporting countries to Europe before the conflict began in March. The international military intervention there helped push crude oil prices to post-recession highs.