In Libya, "everyone is going to be wealthy," says Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni. The multinational oil and gas company, headquartered in Italy, has more operations in Libya than any other driller in the world.
Scaroni cites compelling statistics of what could be: "Five million people and 2 million barrels of oil (per day), which means that this country can be a paradise, and I am doubtful that Libyans will not catch this opportunity of becoming the new Abu Dhabi, or the new Qatar or the new Kuwait."
But they haven't yet. And if recent events in the North African country are any indication, it is going to be some time before paradise arrives.
Security concerns are the reason the International Energy Agency predicted last week that Libyan output will remain stagnant—below 700,000 barrels per day for the foreseeable future. Last week's brief abduction of Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan by militants underscores "the challenging security environment," said the IEA.
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Production in Libya plunged 80 percent in September—to only 300,000 barrels per day—due to militant activity, labor disputes and political turmoil. It subsequently rebounded to roughly 600,000-700,000 in early October, according to officials interviewed by the IEA. But that is well below the nearly 1.4 million barrels per day it was producing in 2012.