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Three oil majors say resuming operations in Libya

Three major international oil companies have announced a resumption of their operations in Libya after a 10-year absence, the Libyan National Oil Company said on Thursday.

The NOC said in a press release it “received official notifications from the Italian company Eni and the British company British Petroleum regarding the lifting of force majeure and the resumption of exploration and contractual obligations in the blocks awarded to them in the Ghadames Basin (A-B) and offshore Block C”.

It said it had also been notified by Algeria’s Sonatrach that “exploration and fulfilment of contractual obligations in blocks 065 and 96/95 in the Ghadames Basin” had resumed.

The Ghadames Basin is in southwest Libya in an area rich in oil and gas on the border with Algeria and Tunisia.

In December, the NOC called on foreign companies with which it had hydrocarbon exploration and production agreements to lift the force majeure they had invoked, arguing that the security situation had improved.

Force majeure is a measure invoked in exceptional circumstances, allowing exemption from liability in the event of non-compliance with contractual obligations.

Crude oil is the main revenue source for Libya, which has been torn by more than a decade of stop-start conflict, involving foreign powers and a myriad of militias, since a NATO-backed revolt toppled strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Over the past decade, Libya has been regularly plagued by clashes between rival factions from the east and the west, badly affecting oil and gas operations.

The country sits on Africa’s biggest oil reserves but the wedge between the eastern government and a United Nations-recognised administration in Tripoli has hampered Libya’s efforts to sharply ramp up output in response to a surge in European demand for non-Russian oil and gas.

Production has recovered in recent months to reach 1.2 million barrels per day, most of which is for export.

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