Russia’s Tatneft has restarted its acquisition of seismic in Libya, the National Oil Corp. (NOC) has announced, picking up where it left off in 2014.
Tatneft resumed its seismic work on December 6 in the Ghadames Basin, in northwest Libya. Carrying out the seismic is Arab Geophysical Exploration Services Company (AGESCO) on Block 4/82. The work will cover a 200 square km area. The Russian company halted work on its block through a declaration of force majeure.
“We are very pleased with Tatneft’s resumption of its activities at Ghadames Basin,” NOC’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla said. “This enhances confidence in the oil and gas sector and serves the Libyan economy’s interests.”
Sanalla has been in talks with a number of foreign investors to encourage them to return to work in the North African state. The official held talks with Tatneft executives in mid-2017 in Istanbul, during which he discussed the security situation, and in October 2018 at a conference in Russia.
Security continues to be a major challenge for companies in Libya. Production at the El Feel field was shut down in late November for around 24 hours as forces from the Government of National Accord (GNA) attempted to dislodge the Libyan National Army (LNA) from the area.
In addition to this high-level insecurity, NOC also struggles with local issues, which saw production from El Feel disrupted again, on December 5, with the illegal closing of a valve. This had a knock-on impact on exports of the Mellitah blend.
Tatneft entered Libya via an exploration and production-sharing agreement (EPSA) signed in 2007, with a 10.5% stake. The company made some small discoveries in the country before the 2011 revolution, including the A1-82/04 well, the B1-82/04 well and the A1-82/01 well. In addition to its holdings in Libya, Tatneft also has stakes in Syria, where work has been halted as a result of violence.
BP and Eni struck a deal on the Ghadames Basin in 2018, with the Italian company buying half of the UK company’s stake. Progress has been slow on this but success for Tatneft’s seismic acquisition might provide some reassurance.
AGESCO was set up in 1984 with NOC as a shareholder. The seismic company said it had acquired 499 square km of 3D seismic for Arabian Gulf Oil Co. (AGOCO) in the first quarter.