Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 25 May 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
Russia’s Tatneft Discovers New Oil Field in Libya
Russian oil firm Tatneft and National Oil Corporation (NOC) of Libya said they had successfully drilled a well on an oil block of Libya’s Ghadames Basin, some 330 kilometers south of Tripoli. This might be a step towards restoring Russian oil production in a divided African country although oil firms are unlikely to get involved to the same extent as before the fall of Gaddafi.
The achieved flow rate is estimated at some 1,900 barrels of oil per day. Tatneft is the operator of the contract area with a 10.5 percent interest while the NOC holds the remaining 89.5 percent stake. The Russian oil firm suspended exploration activities in Libya after the civil war broke out in 2014 and lasted until 2020. Although the conflict has been frozen, Libya’s security situation is likely to remain unstable. Tatneft relaunched operations in Libya in late 2021. Likewise, Gazprom suspended all exploration operations in the African country in 2011 as Libya’s longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in a NATO-backed uprising. The discovery of the oil field may be a starting point for the Libyan company and its plans. NOC hopes to increase oil production to over 2 million barrels per day from 1.2 million barrels per day now. Meeting this target is unlikely and increasing oil production in Libya will require significant construction, rehabilitation, and other development of infrastructure, according to Al-Monitor. One key reason behind the Wagner Group’s presence in the country is that it controls Haftar’s oil-rich areas. Russian mercenaries backed the Libyan National Army commander and the Tobruk-based House of Representatives. Inserting Turkey into the Libyan civil war prevented Haftar’s forces from emerging victorious from the conflict. Libya is divided into two rival executives: Haftar and the Tobruk-based parliament in the east and south and the Libyan government in the west. Moscow is seeking to pursue good relations with both.
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