Libya May Include Natural Gas in 2014 Licensing Round, NOC Says

Libya may offer areas containing natural gas in an auction of energy-exploration rights it plans next year as it seeks to boost production of the fuel amid rising electricity use, National Oil Corp. executives said.

“It is possible that the bidding round could include gas,” Mansour Emtir, petrochemical and gas superintendent of the state-run NOC, said in an interview today at a conference in Tripoli. “We need more gas for our power plants and for petrochemical projects” that burn the fuel as feedstock.

Libya’s gas reserves are “largely unexploited and unexplored,” NOC Gas Committee Chairman Jamal Hawisa told the conference. The North African country may contain 100 trillion cubic feet of gas, almost double its 54 trillion cubic feet in proven reserve, he said. “Recent studies indicate large gas reserves in western Libya,” he said. “They are now under appraisal.”

NOC Chairman Nuri Berruien said yesterday that Libya plans to hold a bidding round for petroleum exploration rights in mid-2014. It would be the first such auction since the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi two years ago.

Libya, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has the largest oil reserves in Africa. Electricity consumption in the country is growing by 7 percent a year, according to the electricity ministry.

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