Libya yesterday awarded four potentially lucrative gas exploration contracts to fuel giants Shell, Gazprom, Sonatrach and PGNIG, the first ever given to foreign firms as relations warm between Tripoli and the West.
The biggest award went to Algerian firm Sonatrach in association with Oil India and Indian Oil, which was given four blocks covering 6,934 square kilometres.
Russian giant Gazprom was awarded three exploration blocs with a total area of 3,936 sq km in the southern Ghadames basin.
Gazprom beat off competition from Gaz de France, Inpex of Japan, Russian rival Lukoil, Britain’s BG and Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (Polish Oil and Gas Company – PGNIG), agreeing to cede 90 per cent of its eventual production to Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC).
Anglo-Dutch company Shell was handed a two-block contract to explore a 1,790 sq km area in the northern Sirte basin and PGNIG was also awarded a two-block area in the southern Murzak basin.
Shell was awarded its exploration rights following a bid of $93 million (Dh341m) and 85 per cent of its eventual production.
Sonatrach outbid Gaz de France, BG, PGNIG and Germany’s RWE and proposed 87 per cent of its production go to the NOC.
A total of 35 companies had been pre-selected to bid for the dozen contracts awarded to explore 41 gas blocks in the Mediterranean, the Sirte basin in the north-central region, Cyrenaica further east and Murzek and Ghadames in the south. (AFP)