Spain’s Repsol poised to resume oil exploration in Libya

Output at Libya’s Sharara oilfield rises to around 150,000 bpd. [Photo: Repsol]
Spain’s Repsol is willing to resume oil exploration activities in Libya, Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Wednesday after a meeting between Repsol representatives and NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla in Tripoli.

Repsol is a joint venture partner in the company Akakus Oil—along with NOC, France’s TotalEnergies, Norway’s Equinor, and Austria’s OMV—which operates the largest oilfield in Libya, Sharara, with a capacity to pump more than 300,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Repsol, which started oil exploration activities in Libya in the 1970s, suspended exploration of oil blocks in 2011 during the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

Repsol and NOC discussed at the meeting this week the need to carry out regular maintenance work on the surface equipment at the Sharara oilfield, which has stopped operations too many times in recent years because of port or oilfield blockades.

The possible return of Repsol to Libya’s upstream could be another oil major resuming operations in the country.

Earlier this week, Libyan Express reported, citing NOC, that Shell is considering resuming operations in Libya by contributing to oilfield developments and increasing marketing and refining activities.

Shell had suspended its upstream operations in Libya in 2012, abandoning exploration activities in two blocks in the country because of disappointing results. At the time, NOC said that Shell’s negative assessment of the blocks’ prospects did not reflect reality.

Now Shell, whose representatives visited Libya, discussed the possibility to help oilfield development in Libya, NOC said.

At the end of last year, NOC said that another European major, France’s TotalEnergies, planned to increase its investments in Libya’s oil industry.

NOC added it had discussed with the company raising Libya’s production to “the highest levels.”

TotalEnergies, the new name of Total, has stakes in several Libyan oil fields, including Sharara.

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