Special Report-Shell Seeks a Return to Libya with Fossil Fuel Projects on Focus

After leaving Libya almost a decade ago because of civil war, Shell is preparing to return to the North African nation with a plan to develop new and existing fossil fuel projects, as well as a solar project. Shell’s fossil fuel move is a rare one considering the company’s strategy of cutting oil and gas investments in favor of renewable projects in a bid to cut greenhouse emissions.

Shell still needs some fossil fuel revenue to make its renewable strategy come true after years of falling drilling activity.

The company plans to explore new oil and gas fields in two onshore and one offshore basins. The plan is under discussion with Libya’s National Oil Corporation. Shell also aims to renew some old fields and develop new ones.

While the plan’s primary focus is on fossil fuels, Shell also wants to develop a solar project south of the Sirte Basin. The company targets a 2% a year cut in oil output by 2030 and increase investment in renewables.

TotalEnergies, Eni and ConocoPhillips are other companies currently operating in Libya.

After Shell sold its U.S. Permian basin operations for $9.5 billion in September, it freed up $1 billion for the company to pursue other upstream activities.

Libya has always been an attractive market for fossil fuel companies with its vast resources and proximity to Europe; but a decade of conflict caused most of the production to vanish. After a unity government has taken charge until the election in December, the country has started to see some stability.

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