Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Italian oil major Eni on Monday signed an accord with BP and Libyan officials under which Eni will get a 42.5% interest in an exploration and operation sharing agreement in the North African country, as well as become operator of an area where exploratory activities were suspended four years ago.
The Libyan National Oil Corporation, or NOC, Chairman Mustafa Sanalla, BP chief executive Bob Dudley and Eni chief executive officer Claudio Descalzi on Monday signed a letter of intent to make this possible, according statements by both BP and Eni.
BP currently holds an 85 percent working interest in the Exploration and Production (EPSA) sharing agreement in Libya, with the country's Investment Authority holding the remainder. Negotiations related to the accord, which aims at resuming exploration by 2019, are to be completed by year's end.
"This is an important milestone that will help to unlock Libyan exploration potential by resuming the EPSA operations that have remained suspended since 2014," Descalzi said in a press release. The accord will help "restoring Libya's production levels," he added.
Eni has existing exploration and production activities in an area close to three contracted areas under the EPSA agreement that had been awarded by Libya to BP in 2007. Two of the EPSA areas are in the onshore Ghadames basin and one is in the offshore Sirt basin. The accord will make it possible to share Eni's infrastructure.
Libya has seen political volatility in recent years, including an uprising in 2011 that led to the ousting of Muammar al-Qaddafi, who had ruled the country over four decades and was killed by rebel forces in October of that year. The ousting led to international military intervention.
In September a group of masked gunmen attacked the headquarters of NOC, killing two and injuring 10 staff members of the company.
According Petroleum Economist, Libya had in February met its goal of producing 1.3 million barrels per day that it had established two years earlier. The country is working to recover the production levels of 1.6 million barrels per day that it had before the 2011 revolution.
Libya, which has Africa's biggest reserves at 48.4 billion barrels, wants to increase production to 2.2 million barrels per day within the next five years, the report said.