Total is the field’s operator, with a 75 per cent stake; its partner is Saga Petroleum Mabruk, a subsidiary of Norway’s Norsk Hydro, with 25 per cent. The company first reached agreement with NOC to develop the field in 1993. Mabruk, discovered in the early 1960s, has reserves of 1,000 million barrels (MEED 12:8:01).

Elsewhere in Libya the company has a 30 per cent stake in the 165,000-b/d El-Sharara field in Block NC-115 operated by Spain’s Repsol YPF. Production from the field is set to reach 200,000 b/d next year. Total signed an agreement in 1999 with Repsol, Austria’s OMV, Saga and NOC to explore and develop blocks NC-186, NC-187 and NC-190 in the Murzuq basin. In May, the French company acquired two new exploration areas in Block NC-191, adjacent to the El-Sharara field, and Block NC-192, near the Mabruk field (MEED 8:6:01).

Offshore, Total is developing Block NC-137, where production is expected to start in 2003 and eventually reach a plateau of 35,000 b/d. Engineering, procurement, installation and construction contracts for the field’s infrastructure were signed in July. Block NC-137 is located 100 kilometres offshore near the Tunisian border (MEED 3:8:01).