Despite being one of the largest oil producers in Africa, Libya has long-faced production losses due to aging and damaged midstream and downstream infrastructure. In part, Libya’s ability to reach its ambitious production goal – set at two million barrels per day (bpd) by 2025 – will be contingent on upgrading existing infrastructure. According to estimates, Libya will need approximately $17 billion in oil infrastructure investment to reach this target. In addition to sourcing sufficient state budget, Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has sought foreign investment and forged new partnerships, with a view to carrying out much-needed repairs, upgrades and maintenance works on mid- and downstream infrastructure and export terminals.
Libya is currently home to five major refineries – Ras Lanuf, Zawiyah, Tobruk, Brega and Sarir – with a combined nameplate capacity of 380,000 barrels per day. In addition to crude oil, the NOC produces petrochemicals via the Ras Lanuf refinery that uses naphtha as feedstock and the Brega refinery that uses natural gas, as well as operates ammonia, urea and methanol plants. Despite this capacity, Libya continues to import refined petroleum products, primarily from Europe. As a result, the NOC is seeking to expand domestic refining capacity to attain self-sufficiency and eliminate costly fuel imports, with new refineries underway in Ubari, Sebha and Tobruk, among others.
Last April, American multinational Honeywell UOP was awarded the contract for the construction of the 30,000-bpd South Refinery in Ubari, which will produce cooking gas, jet fuel, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas, power generation fuel and asphalt. In addition to contributing to national fuel supply, the project is expected to generate employment and stimulate associated economic growth. Discussions are also underway on building a dedicated pipeline that would supply the Ubari power plant, generating stable electricity for the local population.
In terms of existing midstream infrastructure, several pipelines currently transport Libyan crude oil and natural gas to export destinations – namely, the Libya Coastal Gas Pipeline from Mellitah to Benghazi and the Greenstream Pipeline from western Libya to Sicily. The country is also spearheading several new pipeline projects – including the 130-km NC 41-Mellitah Gas project to commence from 2025 and owned by Eni and the NOC – as well as considering the construction of two new gas pipelines that would connect to Greece and Egypt, respectively. These projects align with renewed efforts to position Libya as a major energy supplier within the Mediterranean.
Lastly, Libya’s Gulf of Sirte includes four main oil export terminals – Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Brega and Zueitina – with a total capacity of 630,000 bpd. While all four terminals were closed earlier this year due to a hurricane and floods in the eastern part of the country, no damage to the terminal facilities were sustained and they have since reopened.