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Thai oil major PTTEP wins first Mideast foothold with UAE deal

Partnership with Italy's Eni seeks to boost profitability

A gas rig operated in the Gulf of Thailand by state-owned PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP).

BANGKOK -- Thai oil and gas company PTT Exploration & Production will team with Italian energy group Eni to explore two offshore blocks in the United Arab Emirates, the first Middle Eastern project for PTTEP.

The investment reflects greater efforts by the Thai state-owned company to tap projects overseas. This first step into UAE demonstrates "success in capturing investment opportunity in strategic areas as planned," CEO Phongsthorn Thavisin said in a statement.

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