A general view taken on January 6, 2015 shows the Mellitah Oil and Gas terminal on the outskirts of Zwara in western Libya after fighters from the Islamist-backed Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) militia secured the perimeter of the oil complex. Mellitah Oil and Gas is a joint venture between Italy's ENI and Libya's National Oil Company and the Greenstream pipeline runs from Mellitah to Gela in Sicily. AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD TURKIA (Photo credit should read MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP via Getty Images)

Libya to sign gas deals with Italy’s EniNational Oil corporation chief. Libya’s National Oil Corporation said Wednesday (Jan.25) it had reached an $8-billion deal with Italian energy giant ENI to develop offshore hydrocarbon sites.


Italy steps up efforts to wean itself off Russian supplies.

The Rome-based company will sign a deal with Libya’s National Oil Corp. in Tripoli this weekend, NOC Chairman Farhat Bengdara told a local television channel. The fields, located offshore in the Mediterranean, will probably be able to pump 850 million cubic feet of gas a day.

The deal also involves the renewal of an existing agreement originally struck in 2008. Eni already produces gas in Libya from its Wafa and Bahr Essalam fields operated by Mellitah Oil & Gas, a joint venture between the Italian company and NOC. Gas from the fields is brought to Italy through the 520-km (323-mile) Green Stream pipeline that crosses the Mediterranean Sea to Gela in Sicily and has the capacity to carry 8 billion cu m/year. Eni produced 198 Bcf of gas in Libya in 2021.

Libya already sends gas to Italy via the Green Stream pipeline, though it’s not at full capacity.

 Eni is also looking to invest more in gas in Algeria and Egypt. Its chief executive officer, Claudio Descalzi, traveled to Algiers this week along with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Libya has some of Africa’s biggest oil and gas reserves and its close proximity to Europe could make it one of the continent’s biggest energy suppliers. Yet Libya’s exports have long been hindered by conflict.

Italy is trying to diversify its sources of gas following the reduction of Russia supplies to Europe in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine Under a government target to eliminate Russian gas by 2025, Italy is working on a number of short- and mid-term measures to boost LNG and pipeline flows from other sources.

Eni’s investment would be the largest in Libya for years. The company, which has operated in Libya since the 1950s, has said it wants to push ahead with oil, gas and solar investments there.

Libya’s extracting 1.5 billion cubic feet a day of gas and plans to increase that to 4 billion, Bengdara said in the TV interview. It aims to boost oil output to 2 million barrels a day from 1.26 million within three to five years, he said.


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Piers Potter


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