During Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s visit to Tripoli on Saturday, Italian energy giant Eni signed a $8 billion gas agreement with Libya’s state-run National Oil Corporation.
Since last year’s invasion of Ukraine saw deliveries cut to less than half their pre-war levels, sending prices soaring to record highs and triggering expensive state subsidies to protect consumers, European governments have been frantically searching for alternatives to Russian gas.
Eni stated that it involved the development of two offshore gas fields and was the first significant project in Libya since early 2000.
The two structures’ combined gas output will begin in 2026 and peak at 750 million standard gas cubic feet per day, according to a statement from Eni.
80 kilometers (50 miles) west of the capital, at the Mellitah Complex, “production will be ensured through two main platforms tied in to the existing treatment facilities,” it was added.
The project also involves building a carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility at Mellitah, allowing for a significant reduction in the overall carbon footprint, the company continued.
“The total estimated investment will be $8 billion, with significant impact on the industry and the supply chain, allowing a significant contribution to the Libyan economy,” according to the estimate.
80 percent of the gas produced in Libya is owned by Eni.
Meloni and Abdulhamid Dbeibah, the head of the UN-mediated Government of National Unity, who is opposed by a rival government in the east, witnessed the signing of the agreement.
Since her predecessor Mario Draghi’s visit to the war-torn nation of Libya in April 2021, hers is the first visit by a European leader.
This week, Meloni also traveled to Algeria in search of supply agreements with the continent’s top gas exporter.
She was expected to bring up the subject of migration during her visit to Libya given the growing number of unauthorized migrants coming from Libya to Italy.
Each year, thousands of people use Libya as a passageway to Europe as they flee war and poverty in various parts of Africa.
The far-right government of Meloni took office in October with a promise to halt the arrival of migrants in Italy, which had risen to more than 105,000 by 2022.