Eni praises role of Tripoli's national oil company

Italian energy company says NOC is a source of unity in a fractured Libya.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Dec. 22, 2015 at 8:22 AM
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ROME, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Less than a week after the signing of Libyan political agreements, Italian energy company Eni said it welcomed the state oil company's role in national unity.

Eni Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi hosted Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of the Tripoli-based Libyan National Oil Co., in Rome. Descalzi said the focus of the meeting was on the future potential for the Libyan oil sector.

Libyan political leaders met last week in Morocco to sign an agreement that will establish a unity government. Libya's political environment fractured in the wake of civil war in 2011, with factions establishing authority from opposite sides of the country.

"Libya needs this unified government to address its critical humanitarian, economic, and security challenges," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said last week.

Descalzi said the NOC is recognized as the main player in the Libyan oil sector and served as the company's main source for energy dialogue during the long period of division.

"It succeeded in supporting and developing the energy sector in Libya in a very difficult period," he said in a statement. "For this reason, we want to recognize the professionalism and operational commitment and sacrifice that the NOC was able to exhibit during the recent complex and profound transformation of the country."

Before civil war erupted, Libya was producing more than 1 million barrels of oil per day. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Libya was producing around 405,000 barrels per day in November, the last full month for which data are available, down about 5 percent from the previous month.

The eastern Libyan government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni set up its own parallel National Oil Co.

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