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Eni, Gazprom Neft Resume Work in Libya, Margelov Says

Eni SpA and OAO Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russia’s gas export monopoly, resumed production at the Elephant field in Libya about two weeks ago, Mikhail Margelov, the Russian presidential envoy to Africa and the Middle East, told reporters today in St. Petersburg.

In September, Gazprom and Eni confirmed that Gazprom Neft will acquire half of Eni’s stake, or 33 percent, in the international group that is developing the Elephant field. A so-called farm-out agreement signed in February was suspended when the violent revolt began against then-leader Muammar Qaddafi.

The $163 million deal is still subject to force majeure, Gazprom Neft Chief Executive Officer Alexander Dyukov told reporters on Oct. 28. The September option gives Gazprom Neft one year to close the deal after force majeure ends, he said.

Eni has been bringing fields in the North African country back on line since September. An Eni press official, who declined to be identified in line with corporate policy, didn’t immediately respond to a voice-mail request for comment.

OAO Lukoil, the Russian producer with the most overseas output, and OAO Tatneft have good prospects in Libya, Margelov said. There is no doubt Russian infrastructure and energy contracts will be observed although reviving Soviet-era arms contracts is “no more than theoretical,” he said.

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