Reuters reports that Eni S.p.A, an Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome, has agreed to acquire half of BP’s 85 percent stake in a Libyan oil and gas licence. The company said this will be done with the aim of resuming exploration in Libya in 2019.
Although the Libyan Investment Authority still holds 15 percent, Eni will acquire a 42.5 percent stake and become the operator of the exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA) in Libya. Both companies and state-owned National Oil Corp (NOC) signed a letter of intent in London paving a way for the final deal. The parties involved however failed to disclose financial terms of the transactions.
NOC Chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, who noted that the agreement showed renewed confidence in war-torn Libya’s oil and gas sector, said “this agreement is a clear signal and recognition by the market of the opportunities Libya has to offer and will only serve to strengthen our production outlook”.
Bob Dudley, CEO of BP, also noted that the deal was an important step by saying “we believe that working closely together with Eni and together with Libya will allow us to bring forward restarting exploration in these promising areas”.
Libya, which is producing about 1.25 million barrels of oil per day, is still below its pre-civil war capacity of 1.6 million barrels per day. CEO of Eni, Claudio Descalzi said the resumption of exploration will help boost Libya’s oil and gas output.
BP signed the EPSA agreement in 2007 to explore onshore in the Ghadames basin and offshore in the Sirte basin. The exploration programme was interrupted in 2011 when the civil war started.
Eni has been operating in Libya since 1959 and is currently active in six contract areas in Libya. The company’s production in 2017 reached a record of 384,000 barrels of oil per day.