Libya and a Russian oil company announced a new discovery on Thursday.
Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corporation and Tatneft said they discovered the oil in the Ghadames basin 330 kilometers (205 miles) south of the capital Tripoli at a depth of 8,500 feet. The amount of oil that can be extracted amounts to 1,870 barrels per day. The National Oil Corporation holds a 89.5% stake in the area, while Tatneft holds the remaining 10.5%, the former said in a press release.
Why it matters: Russian oil companies have had a presence in Libya for years, but their operations were disrupted in 2011 when the NATO-backed uprising successfully topped longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi. A civil war broke out in 2014, lasting until 2020. Tatneft suspended operations in Libya several times during these conflicts but finally resumed in late 2021, according to S&P Global.
The Russian gas giant Gazprom also suspended operations in Libya following the 2011 conflict, but likewise resumed in 2021.
The Tatneft discovery strengthens Russia’s significant oil-related interests in Libya. In 2020, Russia brokered an agreement between Libya’s Tripoli-based government and the eastern-based forces of commander Khalifa Hifter on oil production. Russia supported Hifter’s forces in the civil war.
One reason the Russian military contractor Wagner Group maintains a presence in Libya is to secure oil-rich regions, Mohamed Eljarh reported for Al-Monitor in March.
Know more: Libya’s National Oil Company wants to boost crude oil production to 2 million barrels per day, up from the 1.2 million barrels per day at present. Meeting this target is unlikely and increasing oil production in Libya will require significant construction, rehabilitation and other development of infrastructure, Gerald Kepes wrote in a memo for Al-Monitor PRO in February.