Picture: BLOOMBERG
Picture: BLOOMBERG

France’s TotalEnergies and Italy’s Eni say they are ready to invest billions of dollars in Libya as the Opec nation emerges from a decade of conflict and civil war.

“I want to contribute to Libya’s comeback,” TotalEnergies’ CEO Patrick Pouyanne said on Monday at an energy conference in the capital, Tripoli. “Some may see more boldness than wisdom in TotalEnergies’ decision to partner with Libya. I don’t. Where they see risks, I see the opportunities.” 

The Paris-based firm will put $2bn into Libya’s Waha oil project, which will boost production by 100,000 barrels a day, he said. It will also work to raise output at the Mabruk field and help build 500MW of solar power to feed the local grid.

Libya will be a vital source of supply for global petroleum markets over the next decade, Pouyanne said.

The nation contains Africa’s biggest oil reserves but has been mired in fighting for much of the period since 2011 when leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in an uprising. Warring sides struck a truce in mid-2020, leading to more stability and enabling crude output to rise from barely anything to about 1.1-million barrels a day.

The government has said it needs plenty of foreign investment to sustain that level of output, let alone reach its target of between 2-million and 2.5-million barrels a day within six years.

Elections

An interim government led by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah is meant to govern the country until shortly after presidential elections scheduled for December 24.

Dbeibah said this week that he will run for the presidency, joining a field that includes Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, a son of the former dictator, and eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar.

The two-day conference is the first prominent energy forum in Libya for over 10 years. Pouyanne and Eni’s COO, Alessandro Puliti, were the highest-profile foreign executives to attend on the first day.

Eni will push ahead with oil, natural-gas and solar projects, according to Puliti.

“Libya has significant remaining oil and gas potential,” he said. “Eni is ready to support that development.”

The Italian company was one of the first firms to explore in Libya and struck oil there in the late 1950s. It pumps about 400,000 barrels a day of oil and gas, making it the biggest foreign energy company in the country, Puliti said.

“Despite the complex situation, we’ve continued to invest,” he said.

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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