- The Spanish energy company Repsol YPF has announced the discovery of oil at a well in the Murzuq Basin, deep in the Sahara desert. The discovery, the sixth in the block, was made during drilling in late October. Repsol is investing heavily in Libya, which has become key in the Spanish company's strategic plan for 2005-09.
The new oil discovery was produced at well J1 NC 186 in the Murzuq Basin, some 800 kilometres south of Tripoli and close to the border of Niger. The well is only located 16 kilometres north-east of the last discovery made by Repsol in the same block in the beginning of October. It represents the sixth oil discovery in Libya's Murzuq Basin.
According to a statement by Repsol YPF, the newly discovered well already has a preliminary flow of 4,650 barrels per day, making it a rather big discovery. The neighbouring well discovered earlier last month has reached a preliminary production of 2,060 barrels per day, the company informed.
Repsol YPF operates the 4,300 square kilometre big block in the Murzuq Basin, holding a 32 percent interest in the operations. Other partners in the block include the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) and three other European oil companies, OMV (Austria), Total (France) and Hydro (Norway).
Operations on the block started in May 2003. The consortium headed by Repsol YPF so far is very satisfied with the six discoveries made. Preliminary estimations put the block's total reserves at some 500 million barrels of light crude, which according to an earlier statement by Repsol "is "amongst the best quality on the market."
Two wells on the Libyan block are already producing for export. Some 48,000 barrels of oil are pumped up daily and transported by road to the Libyan coast. Most is exported to the European market.
According to the consortium, the production of crudes in the Murzuq Basin started already in December 1996 from the NC115 block. Also this block is now operated by a consortium composed of Repsol YPF, NOC, OMV and Total. The Murzuq Basin already produces a total of around 200,000 barrels per day, mostly of an excellent quality gathering high prices.
Western oil companies only recently were allowed to engage in Libya - by their own government and by Tripoli authorities - as sanctions against Tripoli were lifted. European companies were quick to start investing in this neighbouring Mediterranean country, before the US giants were allowed to enter Libya.
Repsol - representing Spain, which does not have oil resources on its own - has become the leading international company investing in Libya's oil sector. Only the national NOC company operates more oil fields in Libya. The total production on fields operated by Repsol in Libya now stands at 210,000 barrels per day. Repsol has pointed to its investments in Libya as its key strategy for the 2005-09 period.
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