French oil giant Total has said that it aims to start offshore exploratory drilling for gas in Libya next month.
Bernard Avignon, managing director of Total Exploration and Production in Libya, told reporters that the company was waiting for a drilling rig that was undergoing tests in Croatia:
"We hope it will start making its way towards the exploration area in Libya next week to start drilling operations at some point in mid-May ...
"We hope to discover more gas, we have already discovered gas in that area."
Total operates in Libya through the Mabrouk joint venture with the state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC), and currently produces 41,000 bpd of oil at its offshore al-Jurf field, in addition to 35,000 bpd at its onshore Mabrouk field.
He added that the company also wanted to do more seismic studies in the area around the Mabrouk oilfield:
"We would like to have a clearer vision of the last parts of the concession that have not been explored, with the aim of doing some exploration drilling at the end of 2014, beginning 2015."
Asked if Total would be interested bidding for new exploration blocks, Avignon said:
"Of course we look, of course we are interested."
(Picture: Total HQ, Paris)