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Libya’s Upstream Sector Gears Up for 2024 Oil and Gas Licensing Round

Libya's Upstream Sector Gears Up for 2024 Oil and Gas Licensing Round

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) chief, Farhat ben Gudara, announced plans for an oil and gas licensing round in 2024 at the CERAWeek by S&P Global conference in Houston. The bid round would be the country’s first since 2007, signaling Libya’s return to business after over a decade of political instability. Despite its challenges, NOC is working towards boosting output to two million barrels per day within the next three to five years, according to Argus estimates.

Exploration Drilling Plans for Eni and BP

The NOC chief also confirmed that Eni and BP would carry out exploration drilling plans on three large blocks. Eni will operate two onshore blocks in the Ghadames basin, while the third offshore block is in the Sirte basin. Ben Gudara confirmed that offshore drilling is scheduled for 2024. The third block, known as “Area C” is larger than some countries, and the geological and seismic studies conducted so far suggest that it has the potential to produce more gas than Egypt’s Zohr field. However, the ambitious goals of Libya would require significant investments in infrastructure.

Eni’s $8 Billion Offshore Gas Project Deal

Eni’s $8 billion offshore gas project deal with Libya earlier this year is set to unlock around 760mn ft³/d of gas to bolster domestic production and exports. However, the agreement is mired in uncertainty, with several political factions rejecting it. The Structures A&E project, which has a targeted start-up date of 2026, is yet to receive FID from Eni. Meanwhile, NOC is working with Eni to cut gas flaring at offshore production facilities as part of a $1.2bn project.

Investments in Infrastructure

Libya’s ambitious goals of boosting output and infrastructure require significant investments. Ben Gudara talked about the possibility of an LNG liquefaction plant, possibly a replacement for Libya’s Marsa el Brega LNG facility, which has been mothballed since the 2011 civil war. He also suggested building a gas pipeline to Egypt for potential tie-ins to the 7.2mn t/yr Idku facility and the 5.5mn t/yr Damietta terminals, which the country plans to expand over the coming years.

Meeting Domestic Demand

Meeting domestic demand is Libya’s most pressing challenge. The country currently produces only 1.3bn ft³/d of gas, barely enough to feed itself. Gas exports through the Greenstream pipeline, Libya’s only gas export outlet, are regularly capped to meet domestic needs. The pipeline’s volumes hit their lowest since the 2011 revolution last year, averaging 250mn ft³/d, a third of its nameplate capacity. Volumes so far this year have slightly increased to 265mn ft³/d. Libya regularly has blackouts in peak summer months due to a lack of fuel for power plants.

Political Fragmentation and International Interests

UN Libya envoy Abdoulaye Bathily has outlined a plan for the country to hold elections this year, but internal squabbling and competing international interests remain key obstacles. Libya remains politically fragmented, with loosely aligned western and eastern factions vying for power. The country has been starved of international capex since 2011, with planned projects still stuck on the drawing board. The success of the planned oil and gas licensing round in 2024 remains uncertain due to these challenges.


In conclusion, Libya‘s announcement of an oil and gas licensing round in 2024 is a significant step towards restoring the country’s energy sector after years of political instability. The country’s ambitious goals of boosting output and infrastructure require significant investments and overcoming key challenges, including political fragmentation and competing international interests. However, with the exploration drilling plans for Eni and BP and the possibility of building an LNG liquefaction plant and a gas pipeline to Egypt, there are positive signs for the future of Libya’s oil and gas industry. The success of the planned licensing round remains uncertain, but it presents a vital opportunity for the country to attract international capex and drive its economic growth.

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