Former Eni chief gets Libyan Cabinet role

Nov. 23, 2011 at 8:44 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Libya's acting prime minister gave his blessing to a new transitional Cabinet that includes a former executive at Italian energy company Eni as oil minister.

Acting Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib was quoted in the Tripoli Post as saying the new Cabinet lineup represented "all of Libya."

Minister of Oil Abdulrahman Ben Yezza takes his seat this week among the 29 members of the post-war interim Cabinet in Libya. Bloomberg News identifies him as the former chairman for Eni Oil Co., a joint venture with the Libyan National Oil Corp. In 2005, he was tied to a deal that gave Eni and Exxon Mobil Corp. rights to drill for oil in Libya.

Eni Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni traveled to Tripoli in September, the first visit for any major international company since the war began early this year. The company in August signed a deal with the transitional government that outlined restart plans for the Greenstream pipeline, which had met about 10 percent of Italy's natural gas needs before the onset of the Libyan conflict.

The company generated 13 percent of its revenue from Libya, followed closely by French supermajor Total, before the war. Eni was one of the first companies to return to Libya and the Italian government was one of the first to back the transitional council.

The International Energy Agency in its latest assessment said the Libyan energy sector was on pace to rebound faster than expected.

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