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Energy Giants Boosting Presence in North Africa Amid Europe's Growing Fuel Demand – Reports

© AP PhotoAn Algerian soldier stands guard during a visit for news media, organized by the Algerian authorities, at the gas plant in Ain Amenas, seen in background, Friday, Jan. 31, 2013
An Algerian soldier stands guard during a visit for news media, organized by the Algerian authorities, at the gas plant in Ain Amenas, seen in background, Friday, Jan. 31, 2013 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.03.2023
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Global energy companies have been boosting their presence in North Africa's energy infrastructure amid growing demand from Europe after the bloc phased out the Russian fuel, the Wall Street Journal newspaper reported on Thursday, citing the chief of the state-run Libyan energy corporation.
Energy giants such as Halliburton and Honeywell International Inc. have invested $1.4 billion's worth of deals to develop an oil field and refinery with Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC), which has the largest known oil reserves in Africa, the firm's chief, Farhat Bengdara, said, as cited in the report.
Meanwhile, Italian oil giant Eni has been planning to make investments to replace nearly half of the gas supplies it imported from Russia with Algerian fuel, the report said.
"North Africa has been slow to develop its potential because of political risks, either related to insecurity or bureaucracy," Geoff Porter, the president of US-based North Africa Risk Consulting Inc, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Porter also said that as Europe is in need of replacements for Russian gas, "this is their moment," as quoted in the report.
 An aerial view of a solar power plant in Ouarzazate, central Morocco on Feb.4, 2016. Renewable energy's potential across the African continent remains largely untapped, according to a new report in April 2022 by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.02.2023
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North Africa's state-own companies have welcomed the initiatives to sign the deals because they have seen an opportunity to fill the gaps in the European energy market left by Russia and sell their fuel for higher global commodity prices. This includes Egypt, whose economy has been struggling with high food and import costs.
"I think we can be a good replacement for Russian gas to Europe," Bengdara was quoted as saying in the report.
NOC is expected to sign soon a $1-billion agreement with Halliburton that will allow the US entity to rebuild the al-Dhara oil field after it was destroyed by the Islamic State terrorist organization (banned in Russia) in 2015 and is now run by ConocoPhillips and TotalEnergies SE, Bengdara added, as cited by the newspaper.
EU member states agreed in July to reduce national gas consumption by 15% between August 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023 in response to natural gas shortages and the global energy price surge. The EU executive will carry out a gas supply review by May to consider extending the reduction target as the bloc continues to phase out Russian energy sources.
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