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Russian Oil Major Returns To Libya After 5 Year Hiatus

The National Oil Corporation of Libya has announced that Russia’s Tatneft has returned to its exploration project in the North African country, in the Northwest.

“We are very pleased with Tatneft’s resumption of its activities at Ghadames Basin. This enhances confidence in Libya’s oil and gas sector and serves the Libyan economy,” NOC’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement as quoted by Reuters.

Tatneft stopped its exploration activities in the Hamada area back in 2014 amid the Libyan civil war. Now, it is returning along with other oil companies that had pulled out of Libya during the height of the war.

In October, NOC said several Egyptian companies had also returned to Libya to help Libya’s NOC to boost oil production by resuming previously suspended projects and expanding the country’s pipeline network, both for oil and gas.

Two supermajors, BP and Eni, had also announced plans to resume their operations in Libya in 2018. BP has 85 percent in an offshore oil and gas block in the North African country, and earlier this year the Italian major struck a deal with BP to buy half of it. “I’m not sure about this year since it takes time to set up offshore rigs but Q1 for sure,” BP’s former CEO Bob Dudley said in October 2018.

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The return plans, however, had to be postponed due to the deteriorating security situation in Libya this year. In addition to the continued threat of field outages due to pipeline and export terminal blockades, this year saw the offensive of eastern Libya-affiliated and U.S.-backed Khalifa Haftar on Tripoli in a bid to take over the control of the country from the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.

The situation remains unstable. Just this week another production outage was declared for the El Feel oil field. The outage resulted from the closure of a valve on the pipeline feeding oil from El Feel to the Mellitah export terminal. This was the second shutdown of the 75,000-bpd El Feel field in as many weeks.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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