An analytical editorial by Raffaele Severini
The recent visit of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to Tripoli to sign a $8 billion gas deal has sparked discussion about Italy’s role in the energy sector of North Africa. The agreement, signed with Libya’s Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah and the head of the country’s National Oil Corp (NOC) Farhat Bengdara, will see Italy and Libya invest in the development of natural gas, solar power, and carbon capture.
The deal highlights Italy’s increasing interest in sourcing energy from North Africa, with the country already having a strong partnership with Algeria. Europe as a whole has been seeking to reduce its dependence on Russian gas due to the conflict in Ukraine, leading to a shift towards energy sources in North Africa and other regions.
However, the instability and political chaos in Libya pose a major challenge to the success of the deal. The country has been divided between rival factions vying for control and legitimacy, with some rejecting the appointment of Bengdara and the agreements made with foreign states. The eastern-based parliament has even declared the government to be illegitimate.
Additionally, the oil minister of Libya, Mohamed Oun, has rejected any deal made by NOC with Italy, further complicating the situation. Despite these obstacles, Italy aims to take advantage of Libya’s energy wealth and provide the legitimacy that the Dbeibah government needs, which is currently subordinate to Turkey.
Aside from the energy deal, the Italian Prime Minister and the Libyan Prime Minister also discussed the issue of illegal migration from Libya to Italy. Italy plans to support Libya by providing new search and rescue ships to combat the dangerous journey that hundreds of migrants undertake each year.
In conclusion, while the $8 billion gas deal between Italy and Libya holds great potential for both countries, it is important to consider the challenges posed by the ongoing political chaos in the region. Only time will tell whether the agreement will lead to stability and success or be hindered by internal conflicts.
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author.
They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the AMeAR|News, R2iNTEL or its members.