Italian prime minister, Giogia Meloni has signed an $8billion gas deal with Libya’s state-run National Oil Corporation. The deal was sealed last Saturday when Meloni visited Tripoli.

European governments have been scrambling to find alternatives to Russian gas since last year’s invasion of Ukraine saw deliveries slashed to less than half their pre-war levels, sending prices soaring to record highs and triggering costly state subsidies to protect consumers.

Eni said it was the first major project in Libya since early 2000 and involved the development of two offshore gas fields. “The combined gas production from the two structures will start in 2026 and reach a plateau of 750 million of standard gas cubic feet per day,” Eni said.

“Production will be ensured through two main platforms tied in to the existing treatment facilities at the Mellitah Complex,” 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of the capital, it added.

“The project also includes the construction of a carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility at Mellitah, allowing a significant reduction of the overall carbon footprint,” the company added.
“The overall estimated investment will amount to $8 billion, with significant impact on the industry and the associated supply chain, allowing a significant contribution to the Libyan economy.”

Eni has an 80% share of Libya’s gas production. The agreement was signed in the presence of Meloni and her host Abdulhamid Dbeibah, who heads the UN-brokered Government of National Unity which is contested by a rival administration in the east.

Meloni also visited Algeria this week seeking supply deals from Africa’s top gas exporter. Meloni’s far-right government took office in October, vowing to stop migrant landings in Italy, which reached more than 105,000 in 2022.

Descalzi and NOC’s Bengdara met last August in Rome, where Descalzi “expressed the willingness to launch a new phase of investments aimed at increasing the gas output of the Country,” Eni said at the time.

Descalzi and Italy’s PM Meloni just returned from a trip to another North African country, Algeria, as part of a wider Italian push to secure more energy supplies for Italy and for Europe from North Africa.
Eni and Algerian state oil and gas firm Sonatrach signed an agreement earlier this week to identify possible measures to improve Algeria’s energy export capacity to Europe, identify renewable energy development projects, and reduce emissions.

“The partnership between Italy and Algeria gets stronger today, and Algeria’s key role as one of Europe’s main energy suppliers is confirmed,” Eni’s Descalzi said after the signing of the agreements witnessed by Italy’s Meloni and Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Earlier this month, Descalzi told the Financial Times that Europe should look to Africa for a “south-north” energy axis that would deliver gas from Africa to the EU, which is scrambling to replace Russian pipeline supply.

Eni is a major player in many African countries and has signed several agreements to boost gas supply from Africa to Europe since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the slump in Russia’s gas deliveries via pipeline.

By Bosco Agba

Be the first to know when we publish an update

Be the first to know when we publish an update

Leave a Reply