Eastern Libya courts Russia for oil refinery investment

Eastern Libya courts Russia for oil refinery investment
Photo: Tatneft Headquarters / Source: Creative Commons/MikIMS

Libya’s eastern government, supported by Khalifa Haftar and with strong ties to Russia, recently suggested Russia’s Tatneft should build a refinery in Benghazi or Tobruk. 

The offer was made by Libyan investment minister Ali Al-Saidi at the Russia-Islamic World Forum in Tatarstan, according to the Libyan Observer. 

“Russia has a lot of crude oil, but its supplies are now difficult due to sanctions and embargoes,” Al-Saidi, reportedly told Russian news outlet Novosti. “This matter could be solved by a refinery being established in Libya, where crude oil will be transported, and oil derivatives will then be sold.”

Al-Saidi also said Tatneft could refine Libyan oil in the refinery, if built.  

Libya boasts the largest proven oil reserves in Africa, with oil generating nearly all of the government's revenue. However, harnessing these reserves has proven difficult due to political instability. Rival governments and militias vie for control of the nation's oil wealth, hindering production efforts. 

According to Oilprice.com, Libya currently produces less than 1.5 million barrels of oil per day. Substantial investment will be needed to boost that to 2 million a day. In November, the country’s oil minister said Libya needs a budget of $17 billion in the next three to five years to hit that target. 

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