The Italian Connection: Eni Aims to Re-Launch Exploration and Development Activities in Libya in 2021

As activity in Libya’s hydrocarbon sector resumes, read more on how Africa’s largest potential producer is harnessing its singular frontier potential to attract major operators and grow power generation, in a series of articles from the Africa Energy Series Special Report: Libya 2020.

Following the resumption of oil activity from mid-October, Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) recently met with Italian multinational Eni regarding the second phase of development of the offshore Bouri field. Expansion of the 4.5-billion barrel field has been on the table since July with a view to maximizing the undeveloped West and North Areas, yet requires additional technical, logistical, financial and legal support for completion.

Operating in Libya since 1959, Eni has fostered over 50 years of strategic cooperation with the NOC, and is currently active in the country’s exploration, production, gas and power sectors. With 11 mining licenses, including four exploration permits and seven production permits, exploration and development activities in the country are grouped into six contract areas with a 100% working interest in the exploration phase and 50% in the development phase.

Onshore, Eni is present in area A, B with the Bu-Attifel field; in area E with the El Feel field; and in areas F and D with the Wafa field. The company’s offshore activities are primarily concentrated in Area C, with the Bouri oil field and Area D with Bahr Essalam. 

During 2018, Eni’s activities were focused on optimizing production at the Wafa field and bringing the Bahr Essalam offshore Phase 2 project online, the latter of which included the start-up of 10 new offshore wells and the completion of the gas treated upgrading in Mellitah and Sabratha, thereby increasing processing capacity to 1,100 million cubic feet per day. Operated by Mellitah Oil & Gas, an operating company jointly owned by Eni and Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), the Wafa and Bahr Essalam fields produce natural gas that is piped to Italy through the Green Stream pipeline. Spanning 520Km, the natural gas pipeline carries a capacity of around eight billion cubic meters per year.

In October 2018, Eni signed a Letter of Intent with Libya’s NOC and BP to acquire a 42.5% interest in BP’s acreage in Libya, which includes two onshore contract areas in the Ghadames basin and one offshore area in the Sirt basin. While BP will retain a 42.5% stake in the agreement, Eni will assume operatorship, and the Libyan Investment Authority will own the remaining 15%. The agreement seeks to re-launch exploration and development activities in Libya next year. 

Next article: Timeline: Expanding Libya’s Installed Power Capacity

Libya is seeking to rehabilitate its power sector through increased engagement with private sector players and proactive development of its wind and solar resources. Read more