Italy's Eni starts onshore work in Libya

Dec. 4, 2012 at 6:05 AM

MILAN, Italy, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni announced that it began onshore oil exploration in Libya by drilling a well in the country's western Sirte Basin.

"The exploration well is the first of an onshore drilling program, which is set to continue into 2013, and it marks another important step in resuming all of Eni's exploration and production activities in Libya," the Italian energy company said in a statement.

Italy received nearly 10 percent of its natural gas from Libya's Greenstream pipeline before the Libyan war began in February 2011.

Damage to pipelines and offshore wells in the country impeded production goals, though German energy company Wintershall last month said it was planning to build an oil pipeline for the Libyan port of Ras Lanuf next year.

The Libyan oil sector has rebounded since last year's civil war and is producing around 1.6 million barrels per day, its pre-war level.

NATO forces responded to the Libyan civil war last year with airstrikes, which paved the way to regime change in the country. Protests last week, however, briefly shut production at one of the country's largest refineries near Tripoli.

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