Russia's top oil producer Rosneft has struck up an oil exploration deal with the National Oil Corporation (NOC) of Libya.
The NOC is working to encourage more foreign investment and ramp up Libyan output, the NOC said in a statement.
“We need the assistance and investment of major international oil companies to reach our production goals and stabilise our economy,” said chairman Mustafa Sanalla. The NOC aims to expand oil production in Libya to 2.1m barrels per day (bpd) by 2022. Recently, output levels have increased to 700,000 bpd, which is still well below the more than 1.6m bpd it was producing before the country's uprising in 2011.
“This agreement with Russia’s largest oil company lays the foundations for us jointly to identify areas of cooperation. Working with NOC, Rosneft and Russia can play an important and constructive role in Libya," Sanalla added.
In the statement, the NOC said it also signed a crude oil offtake agreement with Rosneft, but gave no details of the deal.
According to Reuters, Libya is split between political factions based in Tripoli and the east. Russia has been showing support for eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar, who controls most of Libya's oil resources. Haftar's forces have recently been cooperating with the Tripoli-based NOC despite previous attempts to sell oil independently.
Libya is one of two members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) that's exempt from recent production cuts. Rosneft's chief executive has previously said he would not comply with Opec's output freeze.
Earlier today, Rosneft announced it will be the first major oil firm to pre-finance crude exports from Iraq's Kurdistan.