Libya to Sign Gas Exploration, Production Deals with Italy’s Eni

Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) is set to sign offshore gas exploration and production deals with Italian energy major Eni, NOC Chairman Bengdara said. The deal is expected to require $8 billion to produce up to 850 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Mediterranean, as Libya tries to boost gas exports to Europe after Russia cut off most of the pipeline flows to the continent.

Bengdara said the deal involved renewing an existing agreement, signing of which dates back to 2008.

Eni CEO Descalzi could travel to Libya to sign the agreement.

Still, the legality of the deal signed by Bengdara, who was appointed by the Government of National Unity in Tripoli, could be challenged by the country’s parliament which is located in the east.

The parliament said last year that the Tripoli government’s mandate had expired and it no longer recognizes any of its actions, including the appointment of Bengdara, as legitimate.

The conflict between the factions supporting the government and those aligned with the parliament has hampered efforts to hold a new general election and threatened to cause new armed hostilities.

The government’s efforts to sign bilateral energy deals have also been suspended by the country’s appeals court, raising questions about tapping Libya’s energy resources.

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