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Thursday, February 24, 2011     GET REAL

Russia, Italy seek to develop Libyan oil field

LONDON — Russia and Italy have been discussing development of a major energy project in violence-torn Libya.


The two European countries have signed an agreement to enable the development of Libya's Elephant crude oil field.

Under the accord, Italy's Eni, with 66 percent in Elephant, would be partnered with Russia's Gazprom.

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In 2007, Eni signed an agreement with Libya's National Oil Corp. to increase energy production. The two companies, estimated to invest up to $28 billion, have focused on Elephant and the Western Libya Gas Project.

The Eni-Gazprom partnership was signed amid unprecedented unrest in Libya, which sparked a flight of the foreign energy community from the North African state. Many Western energy companies have been evacuating their personnel out of concern that they would be attacked by anti-government forces.

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