The Times: Libya’s NOC to Open Office in London in Bid to Boost Oil Production – Al Marsad

The British newspaper, The Times, reported last week that Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has plans in the works to open a London office to enhance production and upgrade the industry.

(Libya, 30 January 2021) – The NOC is expected to open its London branch in the upmarket district of Mayfair in March or April, subject to COVID restrictions, that will help it facilitate rolling out contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds in the coming years to UK companies, according to The Times report.

The move comes as part of Libya’s push to increase its oil production to 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd), the report quoted the NOC’s Chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, as saying.

Libya’s current oil production stands at 1.3 million bpd and is exempt from the curbs imposed by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The NOC’s London office will be the “final gateway for Libyan investment decisions”, according to the corporation’s chairman, who noted that tenders would be floated for consultancy, portfolio management and capacity building services.

Libya’s oil production dropped drastically after Libyan National Army (LNA) imposed a blockade on oilfields on January 2020 in a bid for a fair distribution of oil revenues to the country. The blockade was lifted in September last year with conditions after an agreement between Presidential Council’s Ahmed Maitiq and LNA’s Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

The blockade was lifted with the condition that revenues would remain frozen in an NOC account in accordance with a US and UN-brokered agreement until a temporary a government was appointed.

The NOC, which has a branch in the US, is pinning hopes on its London “hub” to upgrade Libya’s oil industry. “You know that London is the heart, although it’s now out of the European Union, it’s a hub. It will be very active,” said Mustafa Sanalla, the head of the NOC said in the report.

In October 2018, British energy giant BP signed a memorandum of understanding with the NOC and ENI, the Italian oil major, to resume exploration in its Libyan blocs. However, the plans were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the conflict, according to the report.

The NOC chairman, in the report, also noted that the NOC is holding meetings with French oil giant Total.



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