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BP and Eni, as well as Algeria’s Sonatrach have returned to Libya after a force majeure forced them out of the North African country.
In a statement, Libya’s National Oil Corporation said that BP and Eni had notified it about lifting the force majeure and returning to fulfill their contractual obligations in several onshore and offshore blocks the Libyan government had previously awarded to them.
Foreign oil and gas companies declared forcer majeure on their operations in Libya amid the troubled political situation in the country that has frequently led to oil production outages in recent years.
Late last year Libya called on the supermajors to return to its oil and gas field. Then, earlier this year, Libya prepared to launch its first oil and gas tender in 17 years as the situation improved enough to allow it to boost oil production to some 1.2 million bpd and keep it there for much of the year.
The tender will be held in 2024 and should help Libya move closer to its target of 2 million bpd in daily oil output by 2026. According to the African Energy Chamber, Libya’s maximum production capacity is 1.8 million bpd by 2024 but Tripoli insists it can boost this to 3 million bpd in two to three years.
Even before the force majeure was lifted, Eni, the Italian supermajor with a decades-long presence in Libya, announced plans for more investments in the country. In May, the company signed a deal with Libya’s NOC for the development of an offshore natural gas field with production seen at 750 million cu ft daily.
Libya reported higher oil production for the first half of the year but lower revenues because of the decline in international oil prices. Then, in July, some of the country’s biggest oil fields were shut down yet again amid another wave of political protests.
Since the end of August 2022, Libya has been pumping close to or even above 1.2 million bpd, the level last seen before the port blockades that began in the spring of 2022 crippled Libyan oil output in the spring and most of the summer of 2022.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com