Libya can raise its natural gas production by 30 percent with an investment of up to $1 billion, Italy’s Ambassador to Libya, Giuseppe Buccino, said at a round table discussion at the LUISS University in Rome this week.
If Libya manages to overcome political disputes, it would have more stability that would favor economic development, the ambassador said, as carried by Italian news agency Nova News.
Regarding Libya’s target to boost its oil production—currently at 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd)—it’s realistic to expect that the North African OPEC member could reach 2 million bpd in a year and a half or two years, if there are favorable conditions and adequate investments, Buccino said.
Libya is one of the countries to which Italy is looking for more natural gas supplies, along with Algeria and Azerbaijan, Italian Energy Transition Minister
Roberto Cingolani said earlier this month.
Last year, Libya exported around 3.2 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Italy via the Greenstream gas pipeline.
In March, Cingolani said that Italy, which depends for 40 percent of its gas demand on Russia, would need at least three years to replace Russian gas supply.
Italy and other EU member states have accelerated plans to reduce their dependence on Russian gas following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The high dependence of the EU on Russian gas doesn’t allow it, for now, to sanction Russian gas exports or to place an embargo on imports of Russian gas in response to the war in Ukraine.
Italy signed a deal on Monday with Algeria to receive 40 percent more gas from the African gas exporter via the existing pipeline in the Mediterranean. Italy’s Eni will increase the quantities of gas imported through the TransMed / Enrico Mattei pipeline under the long-term gas supply contract in place with Sonatrach starting from the next autumn.
Other deals will follow, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said, noting that the deal with Algeria is a step toward reducing reliance on Russian gas.
Another EU country on the Mediterranean, Greece, plans to step up efforts to explore for natural gas in an attempt to reduce its 40-percent reliance on Russian gas, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com