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Are Oil Majors Returning To Libya?

The ever-volatile Libya has been hitting headlines the past month, this time around against a quite upbeat atmosphere of rising output. The Libyan NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla boasted of Libyan output reaching 1.25 mbpd in October, of the country being back on track to reach 2 mbpd production by 2022 and things gradually working out for the better. Yet behind the façade, there is a story replete with caveats and loose ends where only those stay who already were in Libya. A series of moderate successes notwithstanding, the country’s gradually improving stature is still at risk. There is a high probability that those oil majors who manage to sweat out the prospective jolting, be it parliamentary elections in a divided state, Islamic State terrorist attacks or the threat of resource nationalism, will reap sweet rewards, yet is the wait worth it?

For Mediterranean majors, spearheaded by the French Total and Italian ENI, the game is definitely worth the candle. Located very close to Libya and being traditional market outlets for light sweet Libyan crude, it is in many ways understandable, all the more so that if one is to omit the Libyan NOC, ENI controls 45% of the nation’s oil and gas production, whilst Total commands 10%. Despite the fact that when it comes to oil, not gas, LNOC is much more rapacious, ENI and Total are taking active measures to increase their Libyan footprint even further. This week, ENI agreed to take over 42.5% of three BP-allocated…

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