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In the discussion thread: Shell’s Pulling Out of Libya [View all]

Response to HiPointDem (Reply #6)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 04:11 PM

12. It appears that you are right (link to a much more in depth article)...

Shell is pulling out while BP is committing and it looks like got more favorable treatment. So, Shell stops FOR NOW, keeps its reps in Libya and seeks similar flexibility with the NOC that BP received.


It was not to be. In 2008, Shell began to shoot 3D seismic in Area 89, the following year drilling six wells with an investment of $95 million, while paying NOC $103 million for permit rights. In December 2010 it was reported that the first gas had been found. At the time, an official with Shell Exploration and Production Libya, Nureffin Wafati said further exploration wells were necessary to establish if the reserves were commercial. Shortly afterwards, Brinded visited NOC in Tripoli for talks, the details of which were never made public.

Later Shell said that the results were disappointing and did not justify further investment. There was speculation that the find was of insufficient magnitude to generate a profitable supply contract to Brega, let alone to underwrite the construction of a state-of-the-art LNG plant.


Given that Area 89 was not going to produce the feedstock for the existing Brega facility, rejuvenated or not, the figures for Shell no longer added up. What could have been a multi-billion coup was turning into wormwood. If, as Shell has indicated, the NOC has been less flexible with the Anglo-Dutch major in renegotiating than it appears to have been with BP, then Shell’s departure may be seen as inevitable. BP also has its Ghadames blocks where there is heightened expectation of fresh highly commercial reserves.

However Shell has not apparently abandoned Libya for ever. Dow Jones yesterday reported an internal Shell email as telling employees: “This is not a country exit, and a Shell Representative Office will remain in Libya.”

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