Gazprom Wins Offshore Libya Acreage

On December 20 Gazprom was declared as the hydrocarbon exploration & development tender winner for Block 19 situated in Libya's Mediterranean Sea offshore. With 45 bidders involved, the tender was organized by the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC).

Gazprom will receive an up to 30-year upstream license for the Block. The project is planned to be funded with over US$ 200 million to be used for geological exploration purposes including for drilling 6 exploration wells.

The fourth-largest in Africa after Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt, Libya's proven natural gas reserves account for some 1.49 tcm. The country's gas potential is practically not utilized: annual production stands at 7 bcm, with 83 percent consumed domestically and the remaining 17 percent exported.

Libya is the first African and fifth OPEC (preceded by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Iraq) country in terms of the proven reserves of light sweet crude oil (5 billion t).

Libya's explored oil reserves are valued at 7 billion t. In 2005 the country produced more than 80 million t of oil.

Founded in 1970, the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) is currently engaged in hydrocarbon exploration and production on the territory of Libya. NOC owns a petrochemicals compound in Ras Lanuf and a string of refineries.

Developing Block 19 in the Mediterranean Sea offshore will be Gazprom's second-largest project in Libya. The first project will be executed under a framework asset swap agreement between Gazprom and BASF. Under the agreement, the Russian side will receive a 49-percent stake in Wintershall Holding that annually recovers some 5 million t of oil in Libya.

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