Russian oil firm Taftnet reportedly secures deal to build refinery in Libya

By bne IntelliNews June 5, 2024

The Russian oil company Taftnet has reportedly secured a concession to build a new oil refinery in Libya amid controversy among the two rival governments in the war-torn country, the New Arab reported on June 4, citing the east-based investment minister Ali Saidi Qayedi.

The proposal was made earlier last month to attract investment to the area. The eastern government in Libya does not have sole authority over oil contracts. The state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) should be the authority that approves such investment deals in the North African country. 

Qayedi noted in May that Russia has a lot of crude oil, asserting that its proposed refinery in Libya will help it overcome the Western sanctions.

"Crude oil will be transported, and oil derivatives will then be sold," Qayedi told the Libya Observer at the time. He also said the success of the Taftnet project would open more investment opportunities for Russian firms in Libya. 

Two rival governments currently exist in Libya. The internationally recognized one is headed by PM Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and is based in the capital Tripoli. In contrast, Osama Hammad heads the Benghazi-based one and enjoys support from the eastern-based House of Representatives.

The Russian militia group Wagner has a strong foot in eastern Libya, where it supports the army’s leader Khalifa Haftar. The Kremlin has also been looking to unlock investment opportunities for economic development in Libya.

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