Libya Remains Promising Market for Italian Oil Companies


Managing Director of the Italian general contractor Bonatti, Andrew Columbus said that Libya “is an increasingly promising market for Italian companies working in the onshore oil and gas supply chain. Libya is potentially even more promising than Egypt for Italian companies working in onshore oil and gas plants.”

In an interview with the Italian news agency “Agenzia Nova,” Columbus added that Egypt has “good-level state-owned local companies, such as Petrojet, which have a monopoly in onshore construction, while it relies on international companies for offshore construction. The Libyan industrial system, on the other hand, is still in an embryonic phase, that could be more promising.”

He noted that in Egypt, Eni’s discovery of the maxi-field of Zohr – the largest gas discovery ever made in the Mediterranean sea – has allowed it to become one of the “most interesting and promising markets in the oil and gas sector.” In Libya, the eight billion dollar maxi gas agreement signed on 28 January in Tripoli between Eni and the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC), in the presence of the Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, could benefit “Made in Italy” brands.

Columbus confirmed that Meloni’s visit to Algiers and Tripoli highlighted the strategic role of gas from the two Mediterranean countries.

According to Columbus, Bonatti has been present in Libya since 1978 and in Algeria since 1999. It remains one of the main Italian companies operating in North Africa, and “thanks to its know-how, one of the protagonists of the gas production boom.”

He added that Bonatti “has never abandoned Libya, where it has indeed tripled its contracts and remains on the sidelines to seize any new opportunities deriving from the gas agreements signed by the NOC and Eni.”

Columbus stated: “We have always been there, even during the war. If we hadn’t been left with our personnel who have various nationalities – Libyans, Italians, and others depending on their skills – in all probability, the operations of the Libyan plants would have experienced significant difficulties. Our company has decided to remain in Libya despite the fact that an important commitment was necessary, unfortunately with very painful implications.”