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Libya, Italy, France, EU: Where It All Comes Together

Libya’s self-fulfilling prophecy

Libya is one of those venues where Western oil majors are not only willing to risk insecurity, but they’re hedging on that very insecurity to get better deals. Investigative journalists on the ground in Libya, with access to sources that include NOC and Libyan National Army (LNA) officials, tell us that the security situation has reached its worst point since 2014, yet this is exactly the moment Italy’s Eni chooses to move on BP’s Libya assets. This is about exploration, and Eni is ready to boost its exposure precisely as Tripoli is burning, oil is under attack and the end game is looming in terms of the hope to hold elections that aren’t likely to happen.

Eni has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in BP’s assets here in order to resume oil exploration, and the timing is certainly not coincidental. This has everything to do with Italy’s new far-right, populist government for which Libya holds some significance. The new government wants more involvement in Libya for two reasons 1) being in this specific area will ostensibly help them control the flow of migrants into Italy; and 2) a rivalry with the French for control over Libya’s vast resources. This second point circles back to the intensifying insecurity. This is the point where both Italy and France hedge their bets on which groups in Libya they win control over to further their interests. France is definitively backing the LNA’s…

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