Libyan Audit Bureau Denies Knowledge of Italian Gas Agreement

Libyan Audit Bureau Denies Knowledge of Italian Gas Agreement
Libyan Audit Bureau Denies Knowledge of Italian Gas Agreement

The Head of the Libyan Audit Bureau (LAB), Khaled Shakshak said that the government’s agreement with the Italian energy company, Eni was not presented to the Bureau.

In a televised interview with Libyan Al-Masar TV, Shakshak explained that the agreement was presented to the government’s Supreme Council of Energy “in principle, not with details, procedures, and integrity. Legally, the agreement should be presented to LAB in order to obtain prior approval in principle. Now, we have asked for all the details of the agreement and for the entire matter for study,” he concluded.

Last week, the Libyan Ministry of Gas and Oil reiterated its rejection of the deal signed between the state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC), and Eni.

It said in a statement that the agreement was concluded, illegally. “This procedure requires prior approval from the Ministry of Oil and Gas to raise the share of the foreign partner (Eni). The Ministry would then refer the approval to the Council of Ministers for a decision. But this did not happen,” the statement said.

It said that “only the Ministry of Oil and Gas is legally empowered to implement that agreement, not the NOC.” It also urged the NOC Chairman, Farhat Bengdara “to follow the legal measures, and to refer to the technical and economic justifications on the basis of which this amendment was made to the Ministry.”

“The NOC’s unilateral decision to amend agreements encourages other partners to amend their agreements, without referring to the legislation stipulated under Libyan law,” the statement added.

According to Reuters, the deal, signed during a visit to Tripoli by Italy’s Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, aims to increase gas output for the Libyan domestic market, as well as exports.

“This agreement will enable important investments in Libya’s energy sector, contributing to local development and job creation while strengthening Eni’s role as a leading operator in the country,” said its Chief Executive, Claudio Descalzi.

The NOC expects to achieve net revenues estimated at $13 billion dollars from the deal. Bengdara said that the value of the investments included in the agreement amounts to $8 billion dollars within 3 years.

During a press conference with Descalzi, Bengdara added that the agreement “includes the development of gas fields with reserves close to 6 trillion cubic feet, and a production capacity of 750 million cubic feet per day for a period of about 25 years.”