Skip to main content

Russia’s Tatneft makes new oil discovery in Libya

Russia and the controversial military contractor Wagner Group have longstanding interests in Libya’s oil, but instability has hurt the ability of Russian oil companies to operate in the North African country.

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.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Business & Tech Briefing Business & Tech Briefing

Business & Tech Briefing

Middle East venture, M&A and economics in your inbox

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial