March 1 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni said it managed to turn a corner after trimming investments last year to turn in its first quarterly profit in more than a year.
"The 2016 results mark the successful conclusion of a radical transformation process," CEO Claudio Descalzi said in a statement. "Over the past three years, Eni has restructured to withstand one of the most complex environments in the history of the oil industry, while strengthening its growth prospects and preserving a robust balance sheet."
Eni reported a net profit of $484 million during the fourth quarter, a year after taking an adjusted net loss of nearly $320 million.
The company is coming off a string of successes. In February, the company said it started production at an oil facility off the coast of Angola in record-setting fashion. Its East Hub project in deep Angolan waters utilizes an offshore floating production vessel and is capable of generating up to 80,000 barrels of oil per day.
In December, the company secured the bulk of the new exploration and production concessions offered by the Egyptian government during the latest bidding round. Eni made its first gas discovery in the Zohr field in August 2015 and quickly described it as the largest ever made in regional waters and potentially the largest in the world.
In a strategic plan for the period ending in 2020, Eni said it estimated its production would increase 3 percent per year for the period. Most of that would come from new projects and optimization from assets already in service, despite a plan to cut capital spending on exploration by 10 percent.
"Exploration remains a fundamental value driver for the company," Descalzi said. "Throughout the plan, Eni expects to deliver new discoveries of 2-3 billion barrels of oil equivalent, almost two times the discoveries of the previous plan, by drilling around 120 wells in more than 20 countries."