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Libya to open London hub to help expand British oil investments

The Times has reported that Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) is going to open a hub in London that will award consultancy and asset management contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds over the next several years to British companies.

The report said that the office “The Mayfair” is scheduled to open in March or April depending on pandemic controls, adding that it will be the “final gateway for Libyan investment decisions”.

The Chairman of the National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanalla, said the hub would be very vital as Libya “embarks on an ambitious project to increase oil production to 2.1 million barrels a day”.

Sanalla told The Times that the London office should play a big role in upgrading Libya’s oil industry, indicating that tenders would be announced for consultancy, portfolio management and capacity building services.

“There will be an agreement with well-known British companies, the large well-known companies in all specializations, whether engineering or reservoir studies, specifically. And chain supply will be from London, over the medium term.” Sanalla remarked.

Sanalla, speaking in Tunisia’s capital during a visit for meetings, said that Britain was highly valued by the corporation, adding that the NOC has another hub in the United States, but reiterating that “London is the heart, although it’s now out of the European Union, but it’s a hub. It will be very active.”

Sanalla also indicated that he hoped British Petroleum (BP) would return in force to Libya now that the political situation was settling.

Sanalla also talked about the security issue in Libya, saying oil production is always in danger, adding that the NOC reached 1.3 million barrels a day, and then sometimes it returned to 1.2 million and 1.25 million barrels a day, because the NOC was always doing maintenance repairs.

“The ceiling is a big problem for us. We reached 1.303 million two weeks ago, then we come back to 1.25 million.” Sanalla lamented.

He also said that the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli had provided scant resources to upgrade old infrastructure, so the NOC was turning to its international partners for help.

He explained that the NOC is now holding meetings with Total, the French company that has interests in several Libyan concessions, saying the French oil company wants to invest and looks at the Libyan market as a promising market.

The NOC said that Sanalla found support from the international community, including Britain, for his role in preserving the NOC’s independence in the war.

The Times also reported the Libya expert at International Crisis Group, Claudia Gazzini, as saying that Foreign stakeholders consider Sanalla as a neutral technocrat who hasn’t aligned himself with Libya’s political and military factions and therefore support the positions and policies he takes.

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