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International Herald Tribune: Libya awards gas exploration permits

Published: December 9, 2007

TRIPOLI: Libya awarded permits to Russia’s Gazprom, Algeria’s Sonatrach, Royal Dutch Shell and Poland’s PGNiG in its first gas-focused exploration licensing round, its state energy company said on Sunday.

Shokri Ghanem, chairman of state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC), told a brief ceremony in Tripoli that the companies were awarded a total of 10 blocks of gas-prone territory in the north African oil and gas producing country.

A results sheet posted on a notice board at the ceremony showed that Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom was awarded blocs 1, 2 and 3 in contract area 64 in the Ghadames Basin.

Algerian state energy giant Sonatrach won blocks 1, 2 and 3 in contract area 95/96, also in the Ghadames Basin.

Shell picked up blocks 1 and 3 in contract area 89 in the Sirte Basin, while Polish gas monopoly Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA (PGNiG) won blocks 1 and 2 in contract area 113 in the Murzuq basin.

Ghanem said more awards from the round could be announced

in a week’s time. Libya had offered a total of 41 onshore and offshore blocks.

The country wants to become a major gas producer and aims to increase production to 3 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) by 2010, with a potential for 3.8 bcfd by 2015, compared with 2.7 bcfd now.

Compared with other hydrocarbon provinces, Libya is under-developed because of years of international sanctions.

Demand for its gas has been boosted as Europe seeks to curb its dependence on Russia and because gas produces relatively few of the carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

The gas-focused round follows three previous exploration rounds focused on oil since the lifting of international sanctions against Libya.

(Reporting by Salah Sarrar, writing by William Maclean, editing by Maureen Bavdek) and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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