During the visit of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to Tripoli on Saturday, the Italian energy company Eni signed a gas deal with Libya’s state-run National Oil Corporation worth $8 billion. As a result of the invasion of Ukraine, deliveries of Russian gas were cut to less than half of their pre-war levels. This caused prices to skyrocket to record highs and triggered costly state subsidies to protect consumers. As a result of this, European governments have been looking for alternatives to Russian gas.
According to Eni, it was the first big project in Libya since the start of the year 2000. It involved the development of two offshore gas resources. “The combined gas production from the two structures will start in 2026 and reach a plateau of 750 million standard gas cubic feet per day,” Eni said in a statement. The document says, “Production will be made possible by two main platforms that will be connected to the existing treatment facilities at the Mellitah Complex,” which is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of the capital.
The business said, “The project also includes building a carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility at Mellitah, which will allow a big cut in the overall carbon footprint.” The report says, “The total expected investment will be $8 billion, which will have a big effect on the industry and the supply chain that goes with it, making a big contribution to the Libyan economy.”
Eni holds an 80 percent share of Libya’s gas production. Meloni and her host, Abdulhamid Dbeibah, were there when the deal was signed. Dbeibah is the chairman of the UN-brokered Government of National Unity, which is in competition with an administration in the east. Since her predecessor Mario Draghi’s visit to the country in April 2021, this is the first time a European leader has traveled to the strife-torn country of Libya. This week, Meloni traveled to Algeria in an effort to strike supply deals with the continent’s leading gas exporter.
It was anticipated that she would bring up the topic of migration when she was in Libya, in light of the growing number of undocumented migrants traveling from Libya to Italy. Libya serves as a passageway for thousands of migrants each year who are attempting to escape war and poverty in other parts of Africa and find sanctuary in Europe across the Mediterranean. After taking office in October, Meloni’s far-right government made good on its promise to put an end to the arrival of migrants in Italy, which had reached more than 105,000 in 2022.