Libya New Oil Minister Ben Yezza Was NOC Official, Eni JV Chair

Libya’s newly appointed oil minister headed a commission that oversaw the bidding for drilling rights by international oil companies, and was chairman of an Eni SpA (ENI)Libya joint venture in the country prior to his new post.

Ben Yezza previously served as chairman of Eni Oil Co., a joint venture with Libya’s National Oil Corp. that explores and produces oil in the North African country, according to a 2007 release posted on the state-run company’s web site. In 2005, he headed National Oil commission that awarded the rights to drill for oil to companies including Eni and Exxon Mobil Corp.

For Eni “it’s always good to have close contacts with somebody, to already be on close terms,” Samuel Ciszuk, supply- side consultant for KBC Asset Management UK, said in a telephone interview. “The fact he had experience in negotiations and co- working with IOCs and then worked in one of the joint ventures, that is positive.”

(Source: Bloomberg)

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