Italy’s ENI Lifts Force Majeure on Exploration Assets in Libya

Italy’s ENI Lifts Force Majeure on Exploration Assets in Libya
Italy’s ENI Lifts Force Majeure on Exploration Assets in Libya

On Thursday, Italian oil company, Eni and Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) officially lifted the force majeure status on exploration areas A and B (onshore), and C (offshore) in Libya.

Eni, as the operator with a 42.5% stake, along with BP and the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), will now be able to resume contract activities in these exploration basins.

It said in a statement that the decision came after it conducted a Security Risk Assessment. This was to evaluate the security conditions in the areas, which yielded positive results.

The revocation of force majeure allows Eni to recommence exploration operations in basins, which are close to Wafa’s gas facilities. Eni is a major player in Libya’s gas sector, accounting for 80% of the country’s national production, which amounted to 1.6 billion standard cubic feet per day in 2022.

The Italian company has been active in Libya since 1959, and currently holds a substantial portfolio of assets involved in exploration, production, and development.

Eni’s production activities in Libya are managed through the joint venture company Mellitah Oil and Gas BV, in which Eni and the NOC each hold a 50% stake. In 2022, the equity production from these operations reached 165,000 barrels of oil per day.

In January, the NOC signed an $8 billion deal with Eni, to develop two Libyan offshore gas fields. This comes as European nations seek to cut their dependence on Russian energy.

Eni will help develop two offshore fields, with production expected set to start in 2026, the company said on 28 January.

The Italian giant estimated the fields could produce about 7.5 billion cubic meters of gas a year, or more than two-thirds of the amount Italy imported from Russia last year.

European nations have been rushing to purchase natural gas from non-Russian sources, including North Africa, following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Eni’s Chief Operating Officer, Giuseppe Ricci said Monday that the firm has reduced dependence on Russian gas imports from 40% to 7-8%. “Within two years we will completely free ourselves from these imports,” he explained at a conference in Italy.

Ricci revealed that all alternative gas sources that pass through the Mediterranean will be promoted through a pipeline extending from Libya and Algeria, and the TAP line coming from Azerbaijan. This is in addition to LNG re-condensation stations. He stressed that “energy security can only be achieved through diversification.”

In April, the Italian Environment Minister, Gilberto Pichetto-Fratin said that Italy had overcome its dependence on Russian gas thanks to African gas from Libya and Algeria.

He told Corriere della Sera newspaper that “Russia used to account for 40% of our gas needs, but today Italy can import a little over 10%.” He confirmed that Italy “has actually overcome its dependence on Moscow by increasing gas imports from the east via the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) and from Africa thanks to new agreements with Libya and Algeria.”