London, UK | – French project management, engineering and construction company Technip has signed a preliminary $500 million deal to upgrade a key Libyan oil facility, along with Italy’s Eni and Libya’s state oil company.
Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the signing was crucial to show that foreign firms were starting to return to do business in a country hit by over five years of conflict.
“This is for the Libyans and gives them a chance to increase production, distribute resources and create jobs,” Ayrault said after the signing ceremony in Paris.
The move is part of French diplomatic efforts to boost Libya’s fragile unity government. The signing comes as Libyan forces are fighting to push back ISIS extremists, who have seized territory amid political turmoil.
The head of Libya’s National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanalla, met in Paris with French executives, and oversaw the signing of the letter of intent to upgrade a platform at the Bahr Essalam oil field with an aim of producing 12.6 million barrels a day.
The oil field is about 100 kilometres off Tripoli.
Oil production rose above 300,000 barrels per day in May, far from the 1.6 million bpd level achieved before Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011.