Russia increases involvement in Libya by signing oil deal

Libyan national oil corporation says contract with Rosneft to redevelop oilfields lays groundwork for further investment\

Russia has significantly boosted its involvement in Libya by signing a potentially major contract to help redevelop Libyan oilfields.

The head of the Libyan national oil corporation (NOC) signed a cooperation agreement with Rosneft, the Russian oil giant, which NOC said on Tuesday “lays the groundwork for investment by Rosneft in Libya’s oil sector”.

“The agreement envisages the establishment of a joint working committee of the two partners to evaluate opportunities in a variety of sectors, including exploration and production,” an NOC statement said.

Russia had extensive investments in Libya before the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, and is eager to recover as many of them as possible in a country still plagued by violent conflict but keen to boost oil production with the help of foreign companies.

In recent months Vladimir Putin has become increasingly embroiled in the country as western-backed efforts to end the long-running political impasse have failed to soothe disagreements between factions in the east and the UN-recognised government of national accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

Russia is increasingly seen as a key player in persuading Khalifa Haftar, the head of the self-styled Libyan National Army based in the east of the country, to compromise over a future role in a new consensus government. Haftar’s forces control most of Libya’s oil resources.

Efforts to secure a new political future for Libya have stalled after the failure of an Egyptian-led process, which saw Haftar travel to Cairo but refuse to meet the leader of the GNA, Fayez al-Sarraj.

Despite the snub, Sarraj has agreed to changes in the composition of his government but, in a sign of the country’s fragility, he survived an assassination attempt on Monday in Tripoli along with two of his senior aides.

Haftar has sought Moscow’s help to battle Islamic State, but European diplomats fear he could join what has been described as Putin’s axis of secular authoritarians in the Middle East alongside the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Italy’s Eni and France’s Total are working in Libya and Schlumberger , the world’s largest oilfield services company, resumed operations in the country about three months ago.

Mustafa Sanalla, the chairman of NOC, one of the few functioning, bipartisan technocratic bodies in Libya, signed the agreement with the Rosneft chairman, Igor Sechin.

“We need the assistance and investment of major international oil companies to reach our production goals and stabilise our economy,” said Sanalla. “This agreement with Russia’s largest oil company lays the foundations for us jointly to identify areas of cooperation. Working with NOC, Rosneft and Russia can play an important and constructive role in Libya.”

March 11, 2017 | 1 Comment » | 49 views

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  1. “Italy’s Eni and France’s Total are working in Libya and Schlumberger , the world’s largest oilfield services company, resumed operations in the country about three months ago…”

    which shows that the Russians are not alone, in seeking to profit from Libya’s misfortune. France and Russia also worked together in supplying and equipping two impressive amphibious assault craft (Mistral class) for Egypt; and both countries are active military partners with the UAE, the third party in the triad.

    I don’t think we should be too alarmed, at Russian involvement in these countries, which could be paving the way for Russian bases in both the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. The possibility of such bases would only free Russia from becoming too entrenched in Syria and Iran, its current partners.

    In terms of Biblical prophecy, which I take seriously, the next big event I am expecting in the area is an attack on Israel led by Turkey, and involving also Iran, Eastern Libya (Haftar’s turf, prob. the Biblical “Phut”) and Sudan. That’s a very plausible Islamic alliance in the not-too-distant future.

    There’s lots of change afoot in the region. Please pray for President Trump’s upcoming meeting with Mahmud Abbas, asking God to make it a disaster.

    Shalom shalom 🙂

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