Hopes of Foreign Investment in Shale Gas

Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) plans to allow foreign investors to take joint venture stakes of about 40 percent in shale gas projects, twice the share of existing contracts signed under the Qaddafi regime.

The National reports that using fracking technology on Libya’s estimated 122 trillion cubic feet of shale gas – double the nation’s conventional gas reserves – could help to boost fuel security and create jobs.

Bashir Garea, the NOC’s exploration manager, told a shale conference in Abu Dhabi:

"It’s continuous drilling to replace these wells ... This will solve the issue of unemployment in the country because it requires a lot of manpower ...

"The funding of these unconventional projects requires a lot of money. Definitely to have anybody to develop shale resources, you cannot go for 10 or 15 percent. That would be uneconomical.

Although the NOC is seeking foreign companies to conduct joint studies on shale, the discussions remain at an early stage.

Mr Garea said NOC had learnt from seeing foreign partners abandon conventional hydrocarbon projects, such as Shell’s exit from two exploratory blocks last year.

Unfortunately, the IOCs [international oil companies] had very low shares, and then when drilling started and the results were not as expected they started complaining about low shares,” he said.

Officials hope to complete a draft petroleum law by the first or second quarter of next year, but Mr Garea commented:

To have a petroleum law, you need to have a constitution first ... You cannot have a law without a constitution.

(Source: The National)

(Shale gas image via Shutterstock)

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