Libya, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), holds the largest proven oil reserves in Africa. According to the 2008 BP Statistical Energy Survey, Libya had proved oil reserves of 41.464 billion barrels at the end of 2007 or 3.34 % of the world’s reserves.

Oil exploration in Libya began in 1955, with the key national Petroleum Law No. 25 enacted in April of that year (a new petroleum law is currently under development). Libya’s first oil fields were discovered in 1959 (at Amal and Zelten — now known as Nasser), and oil exports began in 1961.

Libya is Africa’s major oil producer and one of Europe’s biggest North African oil suppliers. Supplies from North Africa to Europe destinations have the advantage of being both timely and cost effective. According to the 2008 BP Statistical Energy Survey, Libya produced an average of 1847.7 thousand barrels of crude oil per day in 2007, 2.2% of the world total and a change of 0.5 % compared to 2006. Libya’s economy is based on oil and exports contribute between 75% and 90% of State revenues.

Foreign involvement in Libya was severely reduced as a result of the sanctions and embargoes emplaced upon it, especially between the years of 1992 and 1999. Access to oil industry equipment and technology was restricted and Libya is reliant on foreign investment to keep the industry active.

Libya has very low production costs and the oilfields are close to the refineries and markets of Europe. In addition, despite almost half a century of exploration, Libya remains largely unexplored with vast oil and gas potential. The under-exploration of Libya reflects the impact of sanctions formerly imposed on the country.

According to the 2008 BP Statistical Energy Survey, Libya had 2007 proved natural gas reserves of 1.49 trillion cubic metres, 0.84% of the world total, while producing 15.2 billion cubic metres, 0.51% of the world total, in the same period.

NOC controls the whole of the downstream sector together with its numerous subsidiaries and overseas arms, Umm Jawwaby Oil Services and OilInvest with its two subsidiaries of Gatoil and Tamoil

The Umm Jawwaby Oil Services acts as the Libyan National Oil Company’s procurement arm based in London. Libya is a direct producer and distributor in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Egypt. In Italy, Tamoil Italia, which is based in Milan and has approximately 2,100 service stations, controls about 5% of the country’s retail market for oil products and lubricants.


The Licensing authority is the Secretariat of Petroleum Affairs. Since 1973, petroleum rights have been granted under a series of production sharing agreements. Decision number 10 of 1979 allowed NOC to enter into agreements with foreign companies. There have been three exploration and production sharing agreements issued. EPSA-111 remains the model contract in use at the end of 1999. Libya is considering changing the 40-year hydrocarbon legislation to improve terms for foreign investment. The amendments that they are considering will include: access to exploration acreage; small field development; large field incremental production opportunities; increased transparency; and adoption of international competitive bidding practices. In November 1999, in the latest bidding round the acreage was offered under conditions of EPSA-111.

Organisations (22)

Arab Geophysical Exploration Services Company, LCM Oilfield Services, Waha Oil Company, Agip North Africa BV, Arabian Gulf Oil Company, Braspetro Libya, Brega Petroleum Marketing, ENI, Fina Exploration Libya B.V., Lasmo Grand Maghreb Ltd, Libyan – Tunisian Joint Oil Company, Libyan Tunisian Joint Oil Company, Liwa Energy, Ministry of Energy, National Oil Corporation of Libya, Ras Lanuf Oil and Gas Processing Company, Repsol Exploracion Murzuq SA, Sirte Oil Co, Sirte Oil Company, Zeuitina Oil Company

Facilities (66)

Ain, Al wafa, Amal – Libya, Amal-Ras Lanuf, Arshad, Assamad, Assumud Field, Attahaddy Field, Attahady Field, Az Zawiya, Azzawiya, Bahi, Beida, Brega Field, Brega refinery, Bu Attifel, Dahra-Hofra, Defa-Waha Field, El Beda Field, El Sharara Field

Shaun Bakamoso

Greetings. I'm Shaun Bakamoso, and I'm thrilled to be your guide through the dynamic world of business news in South Africa here at mbendi.co.za. With a passion for staying informed and a keen interest in the ever-evolving landscape of business, I've dedicated myself to providing you with timely, insightful, and comprehensive coverage of the latest developments impacting the South African economy. bakamoso@gmail.com / Instagram