The chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), Mustafa Sanalla, has announced plans to allow foreign oil companies to invest again in Libyan oil production:
“We intend in the coming months to lift our self-imposed moratorium since 2011 on foreign investment in new projects to achieve the best national interest for the Libyan oil sector and for Libya as a state.”
In a keynote address at Chatham House’s Middle East and North African Energy conference, Mr. Sanalla said NOC-driven projects to expand oil production could create a virtuous circle of domestic economic stimulus and security, while raising Libyan oil production to a forecast 1.25 million bpd by the end of 2017 and 1.6 mln bpd by 2022.
Sanalla said after three years of blockades by the Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG), all major oil export routes were now open. Investment in oil production capacity was needed to build on the opportunity created after the central Petroleum Facilities Guards under Ibrahim Jadhran were removed from the ports of the Oil Crescent by the Libyan National Army in September, and flows from the Shahara field were unblocked.
“The LNA has its hands on the taps. And the Government of National Accord (GNA) has [UN Security Council resolutions] 2259 and 2278. Each side has one key to the treasure room, but both keys are needed to open the door. And for the moment the oil is flowing. This can be an important foundation of stability in Libya if we build on it.”
Saying the oil sector had suffered from chronic under-investment, Sanalla continued:
“We cannot rely on the international community to save us. We don't know when the transitional period will end. We cannot stand back and do nothing while the state disintegrates. The integrity of NOC is the best guarantee we have that Libya will be preserved as a unitary state.”