Libyan authorities have not raised objections to Total closing a $450 million deal with US-based Marathon Oil to take over its 16% share of the Waha concessions, The Times of Oman reported.
Previous reports have suggested that Libyan opposition may prevent the deal from going ahead.
“We informed Libyan authorities far in advance that the deal had been settled between Total and Marathon and we were intending to close it by the end of March,” Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne stated.
“From a strictly legal point of view, neither in Libyan law nor in the oil concession agreement is there a request for a formal approval,” he continued, “We informed them. There was a target for us for the end of March to close the deal, we wrote to them again before, there was no objection and so we decided to close.”
The Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on April 23 that any such deal “must have the approval of NOC and the Libyan authorities, and any attempt to conclude the sale prior to this approval would be in breach of the concession contractual agreement.”
Total made the deal because it was willing to absorb the risks associated with the Libyan political situation. “Total can take these kinds of Libyan risk in our portfolio more than Marathon was willing to keep them, which is why we did the deal,” Pouyanne said.
Libya’s oil production has been marred by seven years of turmoil since the assassination of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The Waha concession contains reserves of roughly 500 million barrels, with production rates of about 50,000 barrels per day (b/d).
“The cost of access to these barrels was quite attractive due to the political situation. Maybe it created some moves in Libya after they discovered the value of the deal, but the terms of the concession did not change,” Pouyanne said.
“We will give them [the Libyan authorities] all the comfort they are legitimately requiring, to reassure them of our willingness to develop the Waha field in the national interest of Libya,” he said.