By Richard Krijgsman
The current maelstrom of production cutbacks and staff repatriation by foreign oil producers in Libya makes it a little harder to be optimistic on the outlook for the oil business in the country right now. However there is one factor that may play a positive role in ensuring a positive outcome for the industry once the dust has settled and that is the impressive geopolitical diversity of participation in Libyan oil and gas.
Bouncing back from the period of isolation that followed the nationalization of its oil industry in 1973, there are currently no fewer than 35 foreign oil and gas companies active in the country, including leading NOCs and IOCs from every world continent, according to an analysis of Evaluate Energy’s upstream asset database. (Subscribers Only)). Although there may be short term mayhem, Libyan oil and gas prospects may improve in the medium term as a result of structural changes that take place now.
Libya may not be as strategically important to its trading partners as many other Arab oil and gas producers, but it is definitely now well connected to many countries and companies worldwide, which makes the current disruptions a truly international, not local, issue. For a list of of the latest production cutbacks, pullouts and repatriations see today's article by Bloomberg.
Analysis of the structure and type of company operating in Libya today reveals a wide range of companies with varying geographical and political interests. There are no fewer than 11 pure National Oil Companies active in the Libyan upstream sector, according to Evaluate Energy, all of whom have strong ties with their governments and who will be keen to see a swift resolution to the Libyan upheavals. This list includes 6 NOCs from the Asia Pacific region (including CNPC, India’s ONGC and Indonesia’s Pertamina), 2 from Europe (Polish Oil & Gas and Turkish Petroleum) and Russian giant Gazprom. Most of the pure NOCs have an interest only in the exploration phase in Libya and are not active producers, but are aiming to develop supply for the longer term. European part state-owned players like ENI, OMV, Repsol are important producers in the country. Interestingly, Algerian state-owned Sonatrach also has a small interest in exploration in Libya.
By region, there are 14 active companies based in Europe, 11 from the Asia Pacific region, 6 from North America, 2 from Russia, 1 (Sonatrach) from North Africa, and 1 (Petrobras) from South America giving a wide geographical spread to the investment, and hence political interest in Libya’s upstream.
The most important foreign oil producers in Libya are ENI, OMV, Repsol-YPF, ConocoPhillips, Hess, Marathon, Occidental and Suncor, (see graph below – but note that Marathon does not report its Libyan output). But there is also a second tier of companies –those that have lower levels of production and a smaller range of exploration assets –that includes Statoil, GDF Suez, Total, Wintershall and Gazprom. Shell, RWE-DEA and Australia’s Woodside Petroleum are also producing but on a still smaller scale. Finally there is a large number of companies that hold equity interests in a smaller number of exploration plays. Details can be found in Evaluate Energy.
Libya is more important for some companies than for others. Wintershall is very exposed to the disruption of Libyan crude production with more than 70% of its total crude volumes coming from the country. ENI, the largest single foreign producer in Libya, relies on Libya for just over 10% of its crude volumes. Other companies also have diversified supplies, lessening the potential impact of disruptions to Libyan crude output though share prices for OMV have been hit quite hard as a result of the shutdown of its Libyan operations. Figures are based on 2009 production volumes from Evaluate Energy.
Note: This analysis is taken from Evaluate Energy’s detailed international oil and gas Asset Database, available to subscribers. www.evaluateenergy.com