Minister: Libya eyes return of US oil firms to raise output

Bloomberg reported the Libyan Oil and Gas Minister, Mohammed Oun, as saying that Libya wants US oil companies to return to the country and help it raise production rapidly.

“I would like to personally encourage foreign companies, especially those from the U.S., to come back,” Oun said in an interview in Italy, where he’s attending a conference.

He added: “We require a lot of work to upgrade and maintain our facilities,” saying the Libyan Prime Minister Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah recently appointed a special envoy to the US, who will try to get energy firms to invest in Libya.

A number of US energy companies have operated and taken stakes in Libyan oil fields in the past, among them ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil Corp. and Occidental Petroleum Corp. Some of them sold assets after the war began.

Libya, which sits on Africa’s largest oil reserves, is pumping around 1.3 million barrels a day and aims to boost that to between 2 and 2.5 million within six years, Oun said, adding that the government is also trying to attract money from Europe.

Dbeibah said in an August interview with Bloomberg that France’s TotalEnergies SE and Spain’s Repsol SA have offered to invest billions of dollars.

Meanwhile, The Libyan National Oil Corporation set up a London office this month to work with firms thinking of doing business in Libya.

Bloomberg said political tension has risen ahead of an election scheduled for December 24, yet Oun indicated that a return to fighting that leads to more paralysis in the oil sector is unlikely.

“The country is stabilizing. I don’t think there will be big shutdowns.” Oun said, adding that the government wants to develop the country’s remaining potential reserves.

“There’s still plenty of territory to explore on land and in Libya’s Mediterranean waters,” according to the Libyan Oil and Gas Minister.


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