Libya’s Onshore Oil Success Offers Blueprint for Africa

Libya Leads with Onshore Oil Discoveries, Attracting Global Investment

by Adenike Adeodun

Libya, known as Africa’s second-largest crude oil producer, stands out in its effective utilization of onshore reserves, offering valuable lessons for emerging oil markets in Africa. The country’s extensive onshore assets and infrastructure have drawn significant foreign investment and led to new discoveries.

Despite being the world’s 17th-largest country, Libya’s potential in oil exploration remains largely untapped. The International Energy Agency suggests an additional 100 billion barrels could be discovered, a prediction underscored by recent finds in the Ghadames and Sirte Basins.

In a notable development, Russia’s Tatneft, in partnership with Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), announced a significant discovery in the Ghadames Basin’s Area 82 of Block 4 last May, with an impressive flow rate of 1,870 barrels per day (bpd).

Libya’s existing onshore infrastructure, including pipelines and export terminals, facilitates efficient access to global markets. This has been a key factor in Libya’s ambitious infrastructure expansion plans, which aim for a production target of two million barrels per day, a substantial increase from the current rate of 1.2 million bpd.

Recent successes include Zallaf Libya Oil & Gas Company’s production launch at the onshore Erawin Field in the Murzuq Basin, boasting a flow rate that has increased from 3,000 to 6,000 bpd. The El Sharara Field, located in the Murzuq Desert, underscores Libya’s capacity for large-scale onshore production, typically producing over 300,000 bpd.

Libya’s proven oil and natural gas reserves, the largest in Africa, are primarily located in its four established sedimentary basins. The Sirte and Murzuq basins alone hold about 93% of the country’s recoverable oil reserves.

According to a report by Energy Capital & Power, the NOC has outlined projects worth $7.4 billion for award, with significant investments planned in the Mellitah onshore development and the Erawin Field’s pipeline expansion. These initiatives reflect Libya’s strategy to become a model for cost-effective exploration and production in Africa’s untapped onshore markets.

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