Tripoli wants to woo IOCs

07 November 2003
Tripoli is planning to boost capacity beyond 2 million barrels a day (b/d) by 2010 through an aggressive drive to attract foreign investment, Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem told the Oil & Money Conference in London on 4 November. 'We are developing a new EPSA [exploration and production sharing agreement], which will be more open and transparent than previous contracts, in order to attract international oil companies [IOCs],' said Ghanem. 'We will launch the first bidding round soon.'

Ghanem said that he hoped the lifting of UN sanctions in September would encourage foreign investment in Libya. However, Washington has yet to lift unilateral sanctions and the concessions of the US' Oasisconsortium remain undeveloped (Libya, MEED Special Report, 22:8:03, pages 24-25). 'We will offer many incentives to investors,' said Ghanem. 'There will be opportunities not only in oil exploration but in planned gas pipelines, in our ageing 400,000 barrels a day of refining capacity and in our huge petrochemicals plants.'

In light of its ambitious production targets, Tripoli is lobbying hard for a readjustment of OPEC quotas. 'The quota should take into account Libya's enormous potential,' said Ghanem. 'We estimate recoverable reserves of about 40,000 million barrels and the country is very underdeveloped.'

However, he saw no need for a change in the overall production ceiling at OPEC's December meeting. An OPEC committee was established in August to consider the realignment of quotas.

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