Rosneft signed investment and crude-purchasing agreements with Libya’s National Oil Corp as more international companies return to the North African country to gain access to Africa’s largest reserves.
Moscow-based Rosneft agreed to invest in exploration and production in Libya, the state-run NOC said yesterday in a statement on its website, without specifying the amount or timing of the investment. The companies signed a separate accord for Rosneft to buy Libyan crude.
The deals are part of a bigger push by the NOC to encourage additional investments by foreign oil companies to help Libya increase its production to 2.1mn barrels a day by 2020, according to the statement. Rosneft’s press service declined to comment when contacted by phone.
Libya, one of Opec’s smallest producers, is trying to revive output and sales of oil in spite of continuing political uncertainty and conflict between rival administrations and armed groups. Any increase in production may complicate efforts by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to end a global crude glut. Libya pumped 1.6mn barrels a day before a 2011 revolt set off years of fighting that prompted foreign investors to withdraw.
Opec agreed with other oil producers including Russia to reduce their collective output by 1.8mn barrels a day, starting January 1. Libya was exempted from the cuts as its works to restore its oil industry.
“We need the assistance and investment of major international oil companies to reach our production goals and stabilise our economy,” NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in the statement.
Jadadalla Alaokali, an NOC board member, said last week that Libya’s crude production exceeded 700,000 barrels a day and is due to reach 1.2mn barrels a day by August and 1.7mn by March 2018, when the nation’s ports and export terminals will be operating at full capacity. Eni SpA and Total SA are currently working in Libya “without difficulty,” and Schlumberger Ltd resumed operations in the country about three months ago, Alaokali said in an interview in Cairo.
NOC and BP Plc officials discussed cooperation in oil exploration and production on January 25 in London. The Libyans also met with Germany’s Wintershall on February 8.
Libya’s biggest oil field, Sharara, operated by Repsol, re-opened in December. The Eni-run El-Feel deposit is due to re-open within a month and produce an initial 75,000 barrels a day, Alaokali said last week. The two fields in western Libya have a combined capacity of 450,000 barrels a day.
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