By Callum Paton.
Tripoli, 11 December 2013:
The exploration manager for the National Oil Corporation (NOC), Bashir Garea, has said at a shale . . .[restrict]gas conference in Abu Dhabi that he expects joint venture stakes of around 40 percent for foreign partners as the corporation looks to tap into the country’s vast shale reserves.
Speaking to the Abu Dhabi daily The National, Garea has said that shares in shale exploration of 10 or 15 percent, similar to those currently held by a number of international energy companies in joint oil ventures, would be uneconomical and fail to attract foreign investors.
Meanwhile Mohammed Al-Harari, spokesman for the NOC, has told the Libya Herald that Garea must have been misunderstood. He added that while the extraction of shale reserves is an important aspect in the framing of the country’s long expected petroleum law there is still a great deal to be decided before any commitments can be made.
The NOC was “still in a stage where we are studying the possibilities,” he said. “All doors are open, everything is on the table but we need a solution which is good for Libya and good for our partners.”
Shale gas was still “a very new resource and there is nothing in the existing petroleum laws about it,” Harrari added. “We understand that we have a great opportunity in shale gas but let us build our country first,” he concluded.
Libya has estimated shale gas reserves of 122 trillion cubic feet, double its conventional gas reserves. Garea said that tapping into these reserves would “solve the issue of unemployment in the country because it requires a lot of manpower”.
Garea was reported in The National as having said the NOC had learnt from seeing foreign partners abandon conventional hydrocarbon projects, such as Royal Dutch Shell’s exit from two exploratory blocks last year.
“Unfortunately, the IOCs [international oil companies] had very low shares, and then when drilling started and the results were not as expected they started complaining about low shares,” the Abu Dhabi daily also quoted him as saying.
Garea has contacted this newspaper to say he never mentioned Royal Dutch Shell while he attended the shale gas conference in Abu Dhabi.
Note: this copy contains a correction. The article previously stated Bashir Garea had “commented that the NOC had learnt from Shell’s withdrawal from two exploratory blocks last year over low shares”. This passage was amended after Garea contacted this newspaper to say that no such comment had been made. The Libya Herald would like to apologise for this error. [/restrict]