Türkiye on Saturday reiterated its determination to expand cooperation with Libya as it highlighted the North African country’s potential in oil and gas, affirming its readiness to collaborate with countries and firms to help it unleash its potential.

In Tripoli, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar emphasized Türkiye’s intention to elevate the collaboration and noted plans to enhance partnership with Libya on multiple frontiers in energy.

Bayraktar’s remarks came during the Libyan Energy and Economy Summit, which brought together leaders of the main multinational oil companies, including the Italian Eni, the Spanish Repsol, the American ConocoPhillips, the French TotalEnergies and the Algerian Sonatrach.

Libya sits on Africa’s largest oil reserves, but production has been frequently disrupted by over a decade of chaos since a NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and killing of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Türkiye has been a significant supporter of the country and its Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

Türkiye and Libya have seen closer ties in recent years, especially after the signing of security and maritime boundary pacts in November 2019, along with Ankara’s aid to help the legitimate U.N.-backed Libyan government push back putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s forces.

The deal over the Eastern Mediterranean demarcated the countries’ shared maritime borders to prevent any fait accompli by regional states.

The two countries also signed a hydrocarbon drilling agreement in October 2022 to explore hydrocarbons in Libya’s exclusive economic zone and the mainland by Türkiye.

Greater engagement

On Saturday, Bayraktar underscored the significance of the maritime jurisdiction agreement, expressing Türkiye’s desire for active engagement in Libya’s maritime territories.

“We are advancing our cooperation with Libya, a country with which Türkiye shares a deep-rooted relationship spanning 500 years. Our energy initiatives gained substantial importance, particularly with the maritime jurisdiction agreement in 2019,” said Bayraktar.

Under the accord, “we want to be active in Libya’s maritime areas,” said the minister. “We conveyed that we can achieve much more cost-effective and faster results using our own ships.”

“In the upcoming period, we will dispatch a team here shortly and intensify technical efforts to take significant steps in this regard,” Bayraktar said.

The second deal “further solidified our collaboration in the hydrocarbons sector,” Bayraktar noted. “Today, we are here to build on these foundations.”

The minister stressed that the visit aimed to enhance collaboration in various sectors involving private and state-owned enterprises, including energy, oil, natural gas, minerals and electricity.

Bayraktar expressed optimism reflecting on discussions with the prime minister and his counterpart.

“We have demonstrated a serious commitment for the upcoming period, and I hope to see the fruitful outcomes of our efforts. Türkiye and Libya will extend their collaboration not only in the short term but also in a more prolonged and sustainable manner in the energy sector, just as they have done in many other areas,” he noted.

Renewable potential

The minister highlighted Libya’s significant potential in fields beyond oil and gas, emphasizing the nation’s capacity for renewable energy development and the potential for cooperation.

“The country is rich in petroleum and natural gas resources, as well as mineral resources. However, stability is undoubtedly needed. For the investments coming here to have a more long-lasting impact, there need to be accompanying efforts and initiatives,” he added.

Bayraktar emphasized that Türkiye can contribute to Libya’s energy infrastructure, electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure, and energy production.

“We have conducted studies in this direction. Our relevant institutions have collaborated with companies here. There is a significant solar energy potential in this region, and they can benefit from Türkiye’s experience in harnessing it for the economy,” he said.

“We encourage our companies to come here. We are channeling efforts into this area because the resources here will not only contribute significantly to the development of the Libyan people and the country but also enable our companies to achieve significant progress here,” he added.

“We are not only talking about hydrocarbons, oil and natural gas; we also express our openness to collaboration in other areas.”

Among others, Bayraktar pointed out that the energy world has faced a slew of multifaceted crises in recent years, including climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, surging commodity prices and geopolitical tensions, underscored by the conflict in Ukraine and recent events in Gaza.

“To address all these challenges and to secure energy supply, reliable and affordable energy supply is becoming increasingly difficult every day,” he stated, stressing the urgency for international cooperation to tackle these issues head-on.

Smart energy transition

Bayraktar’s speech also focused on the nature of energy transition, advocating for a “smart energy transition” characterized by responsiveness, rational decision-making, flexibility, justice and digitization. He called for developing policies and regulations to foster a sustainable energy production and consumption shift.

With the world’s energy demands still heavily reliant on oil, he emphasized the need for substantial investments in the region of $400 billion to $600 billion annually to maintain oil supply levels.

He also touched upon the shift in transportation, with the advent of electric vehicles and the subsequent rising demand for critical minerals, presenting new challenges for the global economy.

Bayraktar addressed policymakers directly, emphasizing the need for consistent and stable policy to avoid market volatility.

Libya sets sight on new oil and gas discoveries

Also addressing the conference, Libya’s Oil and Gas Minister Mohamed Oun stressed Libya’s untapped wealth of opportunities and vowed to discover “new oil and gas fields.”

Oun said the summit reveals the country’s determination to stabilize, signaling a turning point for a country facing years of political and economic upheaval.

He underscored the enduring importance of fossil fuels and pointed to the untapped wealth of opportunities within the borders.

“We still have fields yet to be explored, including those in the Mediterranean and central regions, where new oil and gas fields will be discovered,” he said, highlighting Libya’s potential for growth in the energy sector.

Farhat Omar Bengdara, chairperson of the National Oil Corporation (NOC), emphasized the organization’s pivotal role since its establishment in 1970 in bolstering the national economy by developing oil reserves.

He noted that NOC’s efforts have increased revenues and fostered strategic relationships with international partners, contributing to the energy supply to European countries and reinforcing global energy security.

Bengdara acknowledged the substantial challenges facing the oil and gas industry and the necessity for collaborative partnerships.

He outlined an ambitious strategy to reposition Libya as a leading energy producer.

“Governments, the private sector, and international bodies, including the Board of Directors of the National Oil Corporation, with the help of global think tanks, have developed an ambitious strategy built on relevant global trends in the energy field,” said Bengdara.

The strategy, he said, is designed to return Libya to its former status as a prominent energy-producing country, supporting sustainable economic development and aiming to achieve a production capacity of 2 million barrels per day.

It also focuses on developing the basis for discovering and producing gas and oil and reviving neglected oil industries.


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