New Libya contracts 'in Statoil sights'

Statoil is positioning itself for possible upcoming contract awards in Libya after reopening its local office in the war-torn North African country last month, according to a report.

The Norwegian state oil company is now looking to bring back online production to pre-war levels in Libya, where it is a partner in the onshore Mabruk field and in exploration in the Murzuq basin, spokesman Baard Glad Pedersen told NTB.

While Statoil is looking to exit nearby Iraq, the company appears to still be committed to Libya and says on its website that “we are considering new business opportunities that may arise”.

 “We believe it will take time for Libya to open for new licence awards. Our first priority is to restore production to its original level,” Pedersen said.

“We expect a gradual increase in our production in Libya in the coming months,” he added.

Before the war that deposed late leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya was producing a total of 1.6 million barrels per day of oil, mostly for export.

Statoil’s operations in the country accounted for around 1.3% of its global production before it pulled out its staff in February last year.

Pedersen said the extent of damage to the company’s facilities in Libya was “less than we feared beforehand”.

The newly reopened Statoil office in the capital Tripoli also suffered minimal damage, with only a few bullet holes in the walls, country boss Jarle Boe earlier told Stavanger Aftenblad.

Norwegian aircraft participated with Nato forces in bombing raids to support rebels seeking to overthrow Gaddafi, who was eventually shot and killed, and this may be a factor in upcoming licence awards.

The London representative for Libya’s National Transitional Council, Guma El Gomati, said Norwegian companies would be well positioned in the contest to exploit the country’s petroleum resources.

”Basically, it will be the companies that come up with the best offers that will be awarded contracts, but if companies from two different countries present equally good offers, then their efforts in the war will be decisive,” he said.

However, Pedersen does not believe that Norwegian companies will be given preferential treatment based on the country’s contribution to the war.

“Our country office will be open for the new opportunities that are on offer. However, we act on the basis that we must compete for eventual new contracts and show that we can create value,” he said.

(Source: Upstream Online)

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