BP has entered an agreement with Eni and Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) to resume exploration work in the country.
The energy giant cut back on exploration in Libya in 2014 amid security concerns following a revolution in 2011.
A letter of intent has now been signed for all parties to work towards Eni acquiring a 42.5% interest in the exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA) in Libya.
The deal is expected to be completed by the end of this year, with a target of resuming exploration in 2019.
BP currently has an 85% working interest in the EPSA, which includes three contract areas – two in the onshore Ghadames basin and one in the Sirt basin offshore, covering 54,000 square kilometres.
The remaining stake is held by the Libyan Investment Authority.
Eni has existing exploration and production activity near the onshore areas of the EPSA and will become an operator alongside BP upon completion of the deal.
The NOC said it will help it meet Libya’s domestic energy supply needs.
Originally awarded in 2007, work on the EPSA was suspended in 2014.
BP CEO Bob Dudley said: “This is an important step towards returning to our work in Libya. We believe that working closely together with Eni and with Libya will allow us to bring forward restarting exploration in these promising areas.”
Claudio Descalzi, chief executive of Eni, said: “This is an important milestone that will help to unlock Libyan exploration potential by resuming EPSA operations that have remained suspended since 2014.
“It contributes towards creating an attractive investment environment in the country, aimed at restoring Libya’s production levels and reserve base by optimizing the use of existing Libyan infrastructure.”