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Libya Won’t Auction Oil Blocks Until 2014

The new government in Libya is not in a rush to have a bid round of hydrocarbon acreages in the next year and half. This much can be gleaned from statements made at the Libya Oil and Gas Summit which ran in Tripoli from September 24 and 26, 2012.

An impending review of the blocks in terms of potential risks, the type of contracts, as well as the pre-qualification of bidders will keep the government’s hands full.

Libya had total proven oil reserves of 47.1 billion barrels as of December 2011, according to BP Statistical review of world energy. The country is the largest tank in Africa, and one of the ten largest globally. Some 80 percent of Libya’s proven oil reserves are located in the eastern Sirte basin, which accounts for most of the country’s oil output. Libyan oil is generally light (high API gravity) and sweet (low sulfur content).

The transitional government which took power after the Civil war had declared intention to review all the extant contracts. The new, elected government is saying the same thing. The review, they have both sought to make clear, is not with the aim of taking away acreages from any company. It’s expected to make the new rulers themselves get a grip on the environment in which they are playing.

Under Ghadaffi, there was so much opacity in contracts.

The pre-war, 1.65MMBOPD Libyan production was achieved by nine producing companies, joint ventures and consortia including the state owned Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO),  which is the country’s largest producer, with 350,000BOPD, Sirte Oil Company (another state hydrocarbon company),  Waha Oil Company (comprising the major state company NOC and ConocoPhillips, Marathon and Hess), Akakus Oil operations(NOC, Repsol and others), Melitah Oil&Gas(ENI and NOC), Mabruk(TOTAL and NOC), Wintershall, Haroungue (Suncor and NOC), Zueitina consortium(NOC, Occidental and OMV).

The new government comes across as friendlier to Western companies, and may adopt a new contractual model that is less onerous than the current provisions. But a lot is still uncertain in the new Libya.

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