Libyan Protesters Close Gas Line to Italy

Libyan Protesters Close Gas Line to Italy
Libyan Protesters Close Gas Line to Italy

Libyan protesters closed a main feeder gas line to Italy, in objection to the government’s “marginalization” against them, local sources told Sky News Arabia.

The line is operated by Libya’s Mellita and exports the largest proportion of gas to Italy and other European countries. Another source at the state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC), confirmed the news to Sky News Arabia.

The source said that discussions are now underway with the protesters to allow workers to enter the field, and continue working.

Earlier, the NOC announced the appointment of about 1,500 graduates of public universities and higher institutes. A group of youths from the Gallo region (east of the country) protested the decision. They said that their region’s share of employment was small.

Last month, Libya succeeded in attracting new investments exceeding $8 billion dollars by the Italian company, Eni in the gas sector.

In a statement, the NOC stated that an investment of $8 billion dollars will “once again bring Libya to the fore and will attract investors from the oil and gas sector, which will lead to the progress of the economy, creating many job opportunities, and increasing levels of income.”|

It added this after the recent controversy regarding the percentage obtained by Eni in negotiations for the two offshore facilities (A and E). It clarified that the news circulating online was false.

Libya has recently experienced a recovery in oil production, with it currently standing at around 1.2 million barrels per day. This followed a deal between rival political factions to lift an oil blockade, but this recovery has been limited by the ageing infrastructure and a lack of funds. The government is therefore keen to attract major oil companies such as Eni and BP.

The NOC is currently trying to complete a deal with Eni to access around 80 trillion cubic feet in proven gas reserves, by developing fields. It is discussing the prospect of TotalEnergies and BP investing in the country’s renewable energy generation capacity in return for gas.

In October, the Head of the NOC, Farhat Bengdara said that they have agreed with Italy’s Eni and BP to begin extracting natural gas from a Mediterranean gas field believed to be bigger than Egypt’s huge Zohr field.