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Repsol in talks to restart Libya oil operations

Repsol in talks to restart Libya oil operations

Executives from Spain's Repsol energy company are meeting in Libya with oil officials to map out plans for bringing the war-torn nation's petroleum industry back online after being shut down during the civil war, a spokesman said Wednesday.
The meetings with Libya's National Oil Corporation were taking place in the eastern city of Benghazi, where the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi began six months ago, said the Repsol spokesman, Kristian Rix.
The talks are aimed at determining how to ensure a "return to normality of the Libyan oil industry," Rix said, without providing further details.
Repsol YPF SA is also "evaluating the condition of our assets and the infrastructure to get a better estimation for when we can return to resumption of activities," Rix said.
A Libyan official said last week that at least five foreign oil and gas companies are back in Libya to work on resuscitating production.
Italy's Eni SpA, the largest foreign producer in the country, was confirmed to be one of them and expects gas exports to resume in October.
A spokesman for France's Total SA energy company, another big player, declined comment on whether it was participating in the Benghazi talks.
"We're evaluating to see when we could restart" Libyan operations, said Total spokeswoman Phenelope Semavoine.
Libya's economic future could hinge on the performance of its lucrative oil and gas sectors, whose production ground to a halt during this year's insurgency against Gadhafi.
Aref Ali Nayed, a member of the rebel-led government's so-called stabilization team, said last Friday in Paris that advance teams from oil and gas companies with Libyan infrastructure were assessing damage and what it will take to restart facilities.
Nayed, who is also Libya's ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said Libya's rebel-led National Transitional Council would respect past contracts and not rush into any new deals.
Eni last week signed a memorandum with Libya's rebels to restart a key natural gas pipeline and provide technical assessment of the country's oil infrastructure.
Repsol believes it will be possible to restart its Libyan oil production operations about four weeks after workers are sent back to the country, but bringing production up to full capacity will take longer.
Total said last week that the company was gearing up to restart production as soon as possible, and that offshore production would resume first.
All three companies have said they won't send employees back to Libya until it is safe for them to work.
Fighting strangled the oil sector in Libya, which has Africa's largest proven reserves of conventional crude. Little to no crude is flowing through the pipelines, refineries have largely halted operations, and fuel prices have spiked during widespread shortages.
A spokesman for Tripoli's new military council said Wednesday that former rebels know where Gadhafi is hiding, and it will only be a matter of time until he is captured or killed.
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Sarah DiLorenzo contributed from Paris.


Updated : 2021-04-24 02:30 GMT+08:00