Algerian oil and gas giant Sonatrach said Thursday it had signed a deal with Libya’s National Oil Corporation to restart its operations in the war-torn nation.
The Algerian group announced the deal during a visit to the neighbouring North African country by its chief Toufik Hakkar.
“Sonatrach and the National Oil Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding in Tripoli today to strengthen their partnership in the oil and gas sector,” it said in a statement.
“The MoU aims for a restart of Sonatrach’s activities in Libya to fulfil its contractual obligations and develop fields that have been discovered.”
Libya sits on Africa’s largest oil reserves but its production has been repeatedly interrupted over the past decade due to lawlessness and armed conflict following the 2011 revolt that toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
The Sonatrach statement said the oil and gas giant planned to “redouble efforts for a swift return” to its activities in Libya, largely suspended since a surge in violence in 2014.
Hakkar’s visit to Tripoli came as Libya’s parliament voted in a prime minister to replace interim premier Abdulhamid Dbeibah, raising the spectre of another power struggle that could easily turn violent.
Hakkar told journalists in Tripoli that Sonatrach had already invested $150 million in the country and planned to pump another $50 million.
“There are oil and gas reserves and there is demand in Europe. We’ll exploit these reserves to meet this demand,” he added.