Oil & Natural Gas

libyan oil sign

Libyan Oil

The exploration of oil began in 1955, and by 1959 Libya's first oil fields were discovered at Amal and Zelten. Around 40 countries were granted concession contracts to explore and drill in an area of about 600,000km2. It was reported that when oil production began in 1961 oil production in Libya was over 3 million bbl/d (around 16% of OPEC's total), and that after 1969's government measures were introduced "to halt this depletion". In 2010 oil production was down to 1.47 million bbl/d.


map of oil fields in Libya



The Mineral Law of 1955 authorised the exploration and surveying of land but did not allow drilling. This was followed by the Petroleum Law (25) of 1955, which authorised the allocation of land and the drilling of oil wells to oil prospectors. The National Oil Corporation is the largest oil corporation in Libya. Contractors working (only) for the National Oil Corporation are permitted to bring equipment into Libya free of import duties.  The oil industry in Libya is run by the state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC), with several smaller subsidiaries and some foreign firms.


Libyan and African oil reserves

Oil reserves of the main African oil producers. Source: Oil And Gas Journal.


Libyan Oil Reserves

According to official energy statistics from the US government (EIA), Libya holds the largest proven oil reserves in Africa, about 41.5 billion barrels as of January 2007; and the 8th largest in the world. Oil production was 1.8 million barrels per day (290×103 m3/d) as of 2006; expected to rise to to 3 million barrels per day by 2013. However, Libya still remains highly unexplored, as current agreements with oil companies only cover 25 percent of Libya. About 90 percent of Libya's oil is sold to Western Europe. Libya has more oil than its aging equipment can process, and after the recent lifting of the sanctions, the country has resumed the purchase of parts and equipment to upgrade its refining and producing capacities.


The First Petrol Pipeline In libya

The following Libyan postal stamp commemorates the inauguration of the first petrol pipe line in libya, dated 25 October 1961. From the images shown on the stamp, the two pipes show the Zelten (or Zilten) oil field and the coastal seaport of Brega.


Mersa Brega stamp
First petrol pipe line in Libya.


Quality of Sulphur-Low Libyan Oil

Libyan oil is of very high quality, characterised by its low-sulphur content. In contrast, oil from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other OPEC producers is of lower quality than that of Libya, Algeria and other Saharan producers. Libya's top-quality oil is known as "sweet crude oil" (low in sulphur), while the lower and sulphur-high oil is referred to as "sour crude oil".  Low-sulphur oil is easier to refine into petroleum products and therefore commands higher prices than low-quality oil, and is more attractive to foreign investors.




Major Oil & Gas Fields In Libya



    • Al Jurf
    • Amal
    • Beda
    • Bouri
    • Bu Attifel
    • Defa-Waha
    • El Sharara
    • Elephant
    • Ghani
    • Gialo
    • Hofra
    • Intisar
    • Kabir
    • Mabruk
    • Murzuq
    • Nafoora
    • Nasser
    • NC-41
    • NC-186 fields
    • Omar
    • Sarah
    • Sarir
    • Wafa
    • Zella
    • Zenad
    • Zueitina


Libyan Oil Refineries

  • Ras Lanuf Export Refinery: located on the Gulf of Sirte, with a crude oil refining capacity of 220,000 bbl/d
  • Az Zawiya refinery: located in northwestern Libya, with crude processing capacity of 120,000 bbl/d
  • Tobruk Refinery: located along the eastern coast of Libya, with crude capacity of 20,000 bbl/d
  • Brega Refinery: located in northeastern Libya, with crude capacity of 10,000 bbl/d
  • Sarir Refinery: a topping facility, with 10,000 bbl/d of capacity




Recently Discovered Oil Fields



The most significant new discoveries, since the discovery of el-Bouri field in 1976, have been in the Fezzan, southern Libya, in the Murzuq basin, like el-Sharara field, which produces around 200,000 bbl/d. In October 1997 large reserves, estimated at around 700 million barrels, were discovered at the NC-174 Block, 465 miles south of Tripoli, also in Murzuq, but production did not start until February 2004, at around 10,000 bbl/d. In August 2003, production started at the Al Jurf offshore oilfield in Block 137, with an estimated output of around 40,000 bbl/d.


new oil discoveries in libya
Source: en.noclibya.com.ly/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1510&Itemid=1


new oil discoveries in Libya
Source: en.noclibya.com.ly/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1483&Itemid=1


new oil discovery
Source: en.noclibya.com.ly/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1445&Itemid=55


new oil discoveries

Source: en.noclibya.com.ly/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1423&Itemid=55




Oil Fields Contract Areas



oil fields contract areas

Source: contract areas



Download Documents & Reports Relating To Oil & Contract Areas In Libya



Sirte Basin Province of Libya

Summary Sheet Area 03, 16, 16, 22, 23, and 71

Summary Sheet Area113 and 114

Summary Sheet Area 58

Summary Sheet Area89 and 103

Summary Sheet for blocks offered in bid round

Summary Sheets Area 64, 95, and 96

Unified Policy for Contracting at the Oil Companies [1]









  • The Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC): the Libya national oil foundation: website: en.noclibya.com.ly/
  • OPEC: opec.org/opec_web/en/
  • World Petroleum Council (WPC): world-petroleum.org/
  • The Pricing of Libyan Crude Oil, by Shukri Mohammed Ghanem (books.google.com/books?id=NUgKAQAAIAAJ&source=gbs_similarbooks_r&cad=2)
  • African Petroleum Producers' Association: appa.int/
  • Brega Petroleum Marketing Co: website: brega-ly.com/
  • The Libyan oil industry By Frank C. Waddams (books.google.com/books?id=GsQOAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA164&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3)
  • Oil & Gas Directory: a directory of oil and gas companies (local & foreign).




Electricity In Libya



Libya currently possesses an electric power production capacity of about 5 gigawatts, with plans to more than double the capacity by 2010. There are rumours that Libya's state-owned General Electricity Company (GEC) may allow private companies to invest in the Libya's power generation and distribution sectors. The GEC's largest current project is to expand the country's network of power substations, concentrated mainly in Benghazi, Sabha and Tripoli. Crude oil prices: the world's oil reserves will run out very soon, and some countries like Dubai, according to experts, has only 8 more years of oil production. Hence, the leaders of the western powers have been urging other countries for sometime now to invest in renewable energy and nuclear power as a long term solution for the energy crisis. This means that once the earth's resources are used up, focus will be shifted towards the sky and the rest of the solar system for energy, like wind, light and planetary mining. The sun is the best example there is about nuclear energy: extremely efficient, free, and clean. Britain, the most advanced country in utilising wind power, has pledged to free Britain from its dependence on oil and continues to invest in renewable and nuclear energy. In a recent American-Libyan scientific cooperation (2008), the two countries have agreed to study the earth, the sun and the other members of the family as one system.




Natural Gas



Gas Production & Reserves In Libya

Libya's gas reserves were estimated at about 70 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), and it is thought that there are substantial reserves both onshore and offshore. However, according to the Oil and Gas Journal the gas reserves are estimated at 54.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). According to EIA, gas production in Libya had reached 1,034 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2009; of which 349 Bcf were exported to Europe. The gas is piped from the Wafa concession and the offshore Bahr es Salam fields to Melitah, between Zuwarah and Sabratha in West Libya, from where it is treated and then exported to Europe. Agip Nord Africa BV and Libyan NOC had jointly developed two natural gas fields in western Libya: the C structure on offshore block NC-41 and the Wafa prospect on block NC-169.

Although most of Libya's current power plants are oil-generated, several stations have been converted to natural gas, as the Libyan government aims to free up more oil for export. Currently nearly 45 percent of generated electricity is produced using gas. Projects to utilise natural gas include the 800-megawatt power plant in Zwara (Zuwarah), a 600-megawatt Western Mountain Power Project, a 1,400-megawatt power plant to be located on the coast between Benghazi and Tripoli, and the 1,200-megawatt Gulf Stream combined power and desalination complex in Sirt.


Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

In 1971 Libya became the second country in the world to export liquefied natural gas. The first country to do so was Algeria, which did so 1964. Libyan LNG is processed at Marsa El Brega. By the year 2009 LNG exports reached 24.4 Bcf.


The First Libyan Gas Summit Outside of Libya for 12 Years: 28th-30th of June 2010

Tthe summit took place at the Westin Excelsior Hotel in Rome with the official support of the National Oil Corporation Libya. The following link (www.cwclibyagas.com/) leads to more information about the summit at Libya Gas.


Law (232) of 2010: regarding fixing prices of natural gas





Mineral Commodities In Libya



mineral production in libya


Source: The Mineral Industry of Libya, by Philip M. Mobbs.