The possibility of increased partnerships with Russian companies on oil and gas exploration and production was discussed yesterday by Mustafa Sanalla, the head of the National Oil Corporation (NOC), and Russian energy minister Alexander Novak. The talks, which took place in Vienna on the sidelines of the meeting of OPEC members and oil producers which are not part of the cartel, also covered potential cooperation with the Russians on marketing and training.
Looking to pursue the idea, Novak invited Sanalla to further talks in Moscow in ten days’ time when the Russian Energy Forum takes place.
The Libyan team at yesterday’s discussions included the Libyan ambassador to Austria. The Russian side included the ministry’s director of international relations Roman Marshavin, Gazprom International managing director Andrey Fick and a large number of energy sector officials.
Also on the sidelines of the OPEC meeting, Sanalla had discussions with Algerian energy minister Mustapha Guitouni and the president of the country’s oil and gas corporation Sonatrach, Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour about them expanding their investment in Libyan exploration and production.
The Vienna meeting between OPEC members and other oil producers had been called to look at whether to extend the 1.8-million barrels-a-day production cut agreed last November and due to expire next March. Some OPEC members had wanted to include Libya in the cuts; it had originally been excluded because of the crisis and the resulting low production. With rising Libyan production this year, there were complaints that this was seating into the 1.8m b/d figure – equivalent to a two percent cut in global production.
In the event, the Novak said that despite this, the reduction was reducing the international oil glut and that it was too early to decide whether to prolong it.