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BP and Eni will begin exploratory drilling in Libya in the first quarter of next year, BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley told Reuters.
BP has 85 percent in an offshore oil and gas block in the North African country, and earlier this year the Italian major struck a deal with BP to buy half of it. “I’m not sure about this year since it takes time to set up offshore rigs but Q1 for sure,” Dudley said.
BP won two exploration licenses in Libya back in 2007, but the 2011 civil war interrupted its plans for the country. This will be the first project that the UK-based supermajor will undertake in the still troubled country after the end of the civil war.
The decision by the two major indicates growing confidence that the Libyan authorities are in control of the country’s oil reserves despite the still substantial risk of production disruptions as warring factions are in the habit of settling their differences forcefully.
Eni agreed to buy a 42.5-percent interest in BP’s exploration and production sharing agreement with Libya’s National Oil Corporation earlier this month, as per a Reuters report, with NOC retaining its 15 percent in the venture and Eni taking up the role of operator.
“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,” NOC’s chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, said at the time.
Libya has managed, despite disruptions, to raise its crude oil production to more than 1 million bpd so far this year, and when the BP/Eni field starts producing, this could rise by several thousand barrels daily, Sanalla also said earlier this month. The country still has plans to raise its oil production to 2 million bpd and more by 2022.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com