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Italy's Eni strikes sour note on Libya

Libyans burn books authored by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi at a local park of the Benghazi, Libya on March 2, 2011. Gadhafi warned the West against intervening in the rebellion against his rule. UPI/Mohamaad Hosam
Libyans burn books authored by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi at a local park of the Benghazi, Libya on March 2, 2011. Gadhafi warned the West against intervening in the rebellion against his rule. UPI/Mohamaad Hosam | License Photo

ROME, March 11 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni warned the "worst potential outcome" for oil-rich Libya is that it will turn into a failed state.

International energy companies evacuated their staff from Libya in February as demonstrations turned violent in the country. By March, the situation spiraled out of country, creating havoc in the global energy market.

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GALLERY: The revolt in Libya

Eni Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni told Bloomberg News that if Libya collapses, the international community could suffer dearly.

"What would be the worst potential outcome is to have a kind of Somalia situation in Libya that has no government for a long period of time," he said. "But if this happens, this will not just be Eni's problem. It will be a problem for Europe, for everybody."

Scaroni said that it wouldn't "necessarily be bad" if somehow the country split along rebel and pro-regime lines, saying a power vacuum would be the worst case scenario.

Eni said it was planning to halt the last of its oil output from Libya within the coming days. The International Energy Agency said most of Libyan oil is shut out of the market.

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Eni is the biggest oil producer in Libya. It pumped close to 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent out of Libya every day before the crisis hit.

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