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Gas exports to Europe continue, no increase planned, Libya Minister tells WAM

by Dubaiforum

VIENNA, 5th July, 2023 (WAM) — Mohamed Aoun, Libyan Minister of Oil and Gas, has confirmed that Libya is continuing its gas export operations to Europe through the Greenstream pipeline, noting that an increase in gas exports is currently unfeasible, but could be considered in the future, after five years.

In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), on the sidelines of his participation in the activities of the 8th OPEC International Seminar, which kicked off today in Vienna, the Minister said that his country has developed a short-term strategic plan for the oil and gas sector, aimed at raising its oil production to two million barrels per day (bpd), and includes developing newly discovered fields and raising the production capacity of existing fields, in addition to developing the infrastructure that was damaged due to the events that Libya underwent.

He added that the Libyan National Oil Corporation’s plan to overcome obstacles in the oil and gas sector includes restructuring the sector and key entities operating in it. The plan also aims to increase oil production by expanding onshore and offshore oil exploration operations. This will help boost the country’s financial revenues and income. The plan also focuses on using natural gas to generate electricity during the coming decades. In addition, the plan works on investing in oil wealth, including shale gas, and leveraging it to increase the proven oil and gas reserves.

The Libyan Minister stated that the plan also aims to address environmental issues and climate change, and reduce carbon emissions. This will be done by stopping the burning of gas from oil fields and in oil operations, and focusing on producing electricity from lucrative renewable energy sources, while also developing the technical, administrative, and financial capabilities of the sector, and training youth.

Regarding the presence of oil and gas reserves in Libyan waters in the eastern Mediterranean, the Libyan minister said that the numbers being presented are preliminary estimates. To confirm these stocks, exploratory and evaluation wells need to be drilled.

When asked about his outlook on the oil market for the next year and the expected impact on oil prices until the end of 2024 following the “OPEC+” decision to extend production cuts, Minister Aoun emphasised that the global oil market is influenced by various factors. These factors include supply and demand dynamics, the political situation in oil-producing countries, and geopolitical turmoil worldwide. He also mentioned the challenges related to financing and investments.

The minister projects that an increase in demand will help achieve market balance and push oil prices higher between the third quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024.

Regarding Libya’s strategy for new and renewable energy, Minister Aoun stated that the Libyan Ministry of Oil and Gas has adopted a strategy for 2021-2026. This strategy focuses on the development and utilisation of new and renewable forms of energy, to support the national economy and transition to modern technologies that contribute to achieving a sustainable energy mix.

He further emphasised the importance of the energy transition in tackling climate change and reducing harmful emissions, which can be achieved through investments in clean and cost-effective energy projects that preserve the environment, including gas and renewable energy initiatives.

Minister Aoun noted that Libya is currently focused on the development of two new solar energy projects: one in the southern region of Rebiana and another in the eastern region near Misrata. Each project is expected to have a production capacity of 500 megawatts and is expected to become operational by 2025.

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