On Monday, the Chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), Farhat Bengdara said that they have agreed with Italy’s Eni and the British Petroleum Company (BP) to begin extracting natural gas from an offshore gas field, believed to be bigger than Egypt’s Zohr field.
In statements to Skynews Arabia on the sidelines of an industry conference in Abu Dhabi, Bengdara said that Eni will invest $8 billion dollars to develop natural gas fields in western Libya.
He added that Libya expects between $35 billion and $37 billion in oil revenue this year, and that it has proven natural gas reserves that exceed 80 trillion cubic feet.
Eni has been working together with the Italian government to clinch deals with alternative gas suppliers, in the face of increasing uncertainty over supplies from Russia.
According to the Upstream oil website, this comes at a time when Libya aims to complete the review of its financial system by the end of 2022, to attract investors. Libya is discussing projects worth $7.5 billion dollars, which aim to provide additional gas to Europe, which is attempting to wean off of Russian gas supplies.
The former CEO of Eni, Paolo Scaroni said that the Italian government has taken steps to import gas from Mozambique, Congo, and Algeria. He added that there is also a chance to increase oil production in Libya to compensate.
In an interview with the La Verita newspaper, Scaroni added that Rome is not ready to give up Russian gas at present. He noted that this would require greater cooperation with Africa.
In August, Libya’s Oil Minister, Mohamed Aoun stated that Libya can only compensate for a small part of Russian oil supplies destined for Europe, even if all its fields are developed.
In press statements to the Italian news agency, Nova, Aoun said that “If the oil and gas discoveries are developed in all of Libya, which will take three to seven years, we will be able to compensate only a small part of the Russian supplies. Therefore, I do not think that Libya is able to compensate for the large amounts of energy that Russia is producing.”
He explained that the offshore gas fields are under development due to an agreement between the NOC and Eni. He added that future production will not be able to meet domestic needs.