NOC appoints new chairman

15 October 2001

International oil executives have reacted positively to the appointment of a permanent chief at the National Oil Corporation (NOC). Abdulhafiz Zleitni was named at the beginning of October as the new chairman of NOC following a prolonged period of interim management. 'The General People's Congress [GPC] was unhappy with NOC's inability to develop the sector,' says an executive. 'Zleitni has no previous experience in the oil industry, but we hope he will start to get things moving.'

The former economy & trade minister takes over from the acting chairman Ahmed Abdulkarim Ahmed who has been named chairman and general manager of Oilinvest International, a subsidiary of NOC. The permanent chairmanship had been left vacant since the departure last October of Abdullah Salem al-Badri (MEED 13.10.00).

For the last year NOC has been slow in pushing ahead with a series of major projects designed to boost the country's production capacity to 2 million barrels a day (b/d) of oil from around 1.4 million b/d. International oil companies (IOCs) have been kept waiting on the allocation of lucrative exploration licences for five packaged blocks in the Murzuq, Sirte, Kufra, Ghadames and Cyrenaica basins. Hydrocarbons reserves in these five areas are estimated to be anything up to 18,870 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe - MEED 13:4:01).

A team of Spain's Repsol YPFand Austria's OMVis understood to be in a strong position for the award of the first package. The M1 concession in the Murzuq basin includes offshore blocks 0-9 and 0-10, Block S-36 in the Sirte basin, and an undefined area in the Kufra basin. Other IOCs that have expressed an interest in the licences include Italy's Agip, France's TotalFinaElf, the UK/Netherlands Royal Dutch/ Shell Group and Germany's Veba Oil & Gas (MEED 9.2.01).

Zleitni will head NOC's influential four-member management committee, which is responsible for the exploitation of the country's vast oil and gas resources. The committee's other members include Ahmed Abulkarim Ahmed, and NOC deputy chairman Ezzedin Hamyouni. Libya's proven reserves are now estimated at 29,500 million boe (Oil & Gas, MEED Special Report, 20:7:01, page 24).

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