Italian energy giant Eni on Friday reported a 66-percent reduction in net profit in 2023, to 4.74 billion euros ($5.1 billion), blaming the fall in oil and gas prices.

The result was significantly lower than expectations of analysts surveyed by financial information provider Factset, which predicted a profit of 7.27 billion euros.

Adjusted net profit -- an indicator closely scrutinised by the markets because it excludes exceptional items -- also fell, standing at 8.29 billion euros, down 38 percent.

In the fourth quarter, net profit fell 76 percent to 149 million euros -- again, significantly below analysts' expectations of 1.73 billion euros.

Like its competitors, the Italian group benefited in 2022 from the spike in oil and gas prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, reporting a record net profit of 13.8 billion euros.

But the situation changed in 2023, with the price of a barrel of Brent North Sea Crude reaching $82.62 on average last year -- a drop of 18 percent, according to an Eni press release.

The benchmark price of natural gas fell 65 percent to 41 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) last year, it said.

Eni's turnover fell 29 percent in 2023 to 93.71 billion euros, slightly below analysts' expectations.