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Giorgia Meloni visits Tripoli as Libya signs $8bn gas exploration deal with Eni

Italy’s prime minister held talks in Libya on Saturday with officials from the Tripoli-based government on energy and migration, key issues for Italy and the European Union.

During the visit, oil companies from both countries signed a gas deal worth $8 billion

(7.36 billion euros), the biggest single investment in the Libyan energy sector for more than two decades.

Libya is the second country in North Africa that Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, three months in office, has visited this week. It is seeking to secure new supplies of natural gas to replace Russian energy amid Moscow’s war on Ukraine. She had previously traveled to Algeria, which has become Italy’s top energy supplier since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Meloni landed at Mitiga Airport, the only operating airport in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, under tight security, accompanied by Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani and Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, his office said. She met Abdel Hamid Dbeibah, who heads one of Libya’s rival administrations, and spoke with Mohamed Younis Menfi, who chairs Libya’s ceremonial presidential council.

During a roundtable with Dbeibah, Meloni repeated his remarks from Algeria, saying that if Italy wants to raise its profile in the region, it does not seek a “predatory” role but wants to help African nations “to grow and grow rich”. ”

$8 billion deal to develop Libya’s offshore gas

During the visit, Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Italy’s state-owned energy company ENI, signed an $8 billion deal with Libya’s National Oil Corporation to develop two Libyan offshore gas fields. NOC President Farhat Bengdara also signed.

The deal involves the development of two offshore fields in block NC-41, north of Libya and ENI said they would start pumping gas in 2026, and estimated at 750 million cubic feet per day, it said. the Italian company in a press release.

Meloni, who attended the signing ceremony, called the deal “significant and historic” and said it will help Europe secure its energy sources.

“Libya is clearly a strategic economic partner for us,” Meloni said.

euronews Gt

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