- The Spanish company Repsol YPF announced that it has discovered natural gas reserves with capacity for 1000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day in Libya. The new discovery was made at exploration well in the Libyan desert, around 1000 kilometres south of Tripoli.
In a statement released today, the oil and gas group said the well shows potential for several separate gas and oil bearing zones. Repsol YPF has a 35 percent stake in the project, while Woodside Petroleum, the Australian energy company operating the facility, holds 45 percent and a third partner, Greece's Hellenic Petroleum SA controls 20 percent.
The well is drilled under an exploration and production sharing agreement with the National Oil Corporation Libya (NOC).
The discovery was made at the C1-NC210 exploration well - far into the Libyan desert in the Murzuq Basin, around 150 kilometres south of the producing Al Wafa gas field. The well, which encountered gas at a depth of 808 meters, was said to contain several independent hydrocarbon-bearing zones.
"An initial production test of the Awaynat Wanin Formation confirmed the presence of a gas column and flowed 5.7 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (MMscfd) through a 72/64 inch choke," the Repsol statement said.
For all the three foreign oil companies involved in the discovery, Libya is a major part of their hydrocarbon reserves. Repsol has interest in a total of 16 Libyan blocks and is the biggest operator in the country after the state-owned NOC. Also for Woodside, Libya accounts for 35 percent of Perth-based 2007 exploration budget. Woodside last year made several successful explorations at Libya's Murzuq and Sirte desert basins.
Libya, which by now is Africa's second-largest oil producer, is also becoming an increasingly important gas exporter to the European Union. Especially Spain and Italy, whose economies are very dependent on natural gas, are strongly involved in securing the development of new gas fields in nearby Libya and Algeria.
North African gas fields are connected directly to the European market by several pipelines crossing the Mediterranean, in particular from Tunisia to Italy and from Algeria to Spain. North African producers compete with gas deliveries from Russia and from the North Sea (Norway and UK).
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