The size of the investment announced today in Libya in the gas sector by Eni and the Libyan national oil company "Noc" on the sidelines of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni
's visit to Tripoli
is a record, unprecedented in the last 25 years .
This is eight billion dollars, as the president of the NOC, Farhat Bengdara, anticipated three days ago, who in the last few hours also underlined that in Libya "the energy sector has not seen an investment of this magnitude for more than a quarter of a century ".
The agreement concerns two deposits overlooking the western coast of the country, specified the head of the national company.
The ENI-Noc 50/50 joint venture should operate in two exploration areas in a marine block where gas has already been discovered in structures "A" and "E", about 140 kilometers north-west of Tripoli.
The two fields have estimated reserves of 6 trillion cubic feet and will take about three and a half years to develop, Bengdara warned.
At the rate of 850 million cubic feet a day, production could go on for 25 years, he predicted: in cubic feet, that's 8.78 billion a year.
Libya is in fifth place in the ranking of African countries with the largest gas reserves (53 trillion cubic feet) after Nigeria (203), Algeria (159), Mozambique (100) and Egypt (63).
But, even if less than Algerian (through Tunisia), Libyan methane is very close to Sicily: between Mellitah and Gela, the submarine section of the GreenStream gas pipeline is 'only' about 520 km long.
Built in 2003-2004 by Eni, which owns it together with Noc, the pipeline's transport capacity to Italy is contractually 'calibrated' at six billion cubic meters a year which, with adjustments, could be increased to eight.
In 2022, GreenStream transported only around 2.5 billion: this is just under a third of what Eni produced in Libya last year (9.3 billion cubic metres).
Margins for increasing Libyan production to contribute to Italy's liberation from Russian supplies - at the same time realizing the "Mattei Plan" to make Italy the European hub for energy from Africa - seem to exist: two thirds of Libyan gas is needed in fact, to make the country's power plants work, a fifth feeds industry and only 15% goes into exports.
The agreement that should be signed tomorrow is "a clear message to the international business community that the Libyan state has passed the stage of political risks", argued Bengdara with implicit reference to the oil blockades imposed by General Khalifa Haftar to pursue his own hegemonic ends .