Libya’s National Oil Corp. signs deal with Artelia for new Benghazi offices

Updated 04 April 2018
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Libya’s National Oil Corp. signs deal with Artelia for new Benghazi offices

  • French firm Artelia to manage NOC company headquarters in Benghazi
  • Most of Libya’s oil resources lie in the east of the country near Benghazi
Tripoli: Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Wednesday it had signed a deal with French building and engineering group Artelia to manage the development of an office complex in the eastern city of Benghazi that will house the company’s headquarters.
There have been plans for years to move the state oil firm’s headquarters from the capital Tripoli back to Benghazi, but it remains unclear when such a transfer could happen.
NOC did not say when the complex would be built.
The buildings will include offices for other oil companies and a branch of Libya’s central bank, as well as a hotel complex and a conference center, NOC said in a statement.
It said the deal had been signed by NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla and Artelia executive director Alberto Romeo on Friday, and that funding would come from commercial banks. There were no details on the cost of the project.
Most of OPEC member Libya’s oil resources lie in the east of the country, but former leader Muammar Qaddafi moved NOC to Tripoli and starved the eastern region of investment.
Benghazi now wants greater influence but parts of the city are in ruins after more than three years of fighting linked to a broader conflict that developed in Libya after the country’s 2011 uprising.
Rival factions based in Tripoli and the east have vied for power over the past four years, with some groups in the east making unsuccessful attempts to sell oil independently of Tripoli.
Libya’s oil production, which was crippled by conflict and blockades after 2013, has partially recovered to more than one million barrels per day (bpd) last year.
The NOC recently announced it would organize an oil and gas conference in Benghazi in October.


Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

Updated 43 min 8 sec ago
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Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

  • Saudi Arabia and UAE initiatives ‘driving forward industrial defense capabilities’
  • Budgets are increasing as countries pursue modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities

LONDON: Defense spending by Gulf Arab states is expected to rise to more than $110 billion by 2023, driven partly by localized military initiatives by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, a report has found.

Budgets are increasing as countries pursue the modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities, according to a report by analytics firm Jane’s by IHS Markit.

Military expenditure in the Gulf will increase from $82.33 billion in 2013 to an estimated $103.01 billion in 2019, and is forecast to continue trending upward to $110.86 billion in 2023.

“Falling energy revenues between 2014 and 2016 led to some major procurement projects being delayed as governments reigned in budget deficits,” said Charles Forrester, senior defense industry analyst at Jane’s.

“However, defense was generally protected from the worst of the spending cuts due to regional security concerns and budgets are now growing again.”

Major deals in the region have included Eurofighter Typhoon purchases by countries including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia is also looking to “localize” 50 percent of total government military spending in the Kingdom by 2030, and in 2017 announced the launch of the state-owned military industrial company Saudi Arabia Military Industries.

Forrester said such moves will boost the ability for Gulf countries to start exporting, rather than purely importing defense equipment.

“Within the defense sector, the establishment of Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) in 2017 and consolidation of the UAE’s defense industrial base through the creation of Emirates Defense Industries Company (EDIC) in 2014 have helped consolidate and drive forward industrial defense capabilities,” he said.

“This has happened as the countries focus on improving the quality of the defense technological work packages they undertake through offset, as well as increasing their ability to begin exporting defense equipment.”

Regional countries are also considering the use of “disruptive technologies” such as artificial intelligence in defense, Forrester said.

Meanwhile, it emerged on Friday that worldwide outlays on weapons and defense rose 1.8 percent to more than $1.67 trillion in 2018.

The US was responsible for almost half that increase, according to “The Military Balance” report released at the Munich Security Conference and quoted by Reuters.

Western powers were concerned about Russia’s upgrades of air bases and air defense systems in Crimea, the report said, but added that “China perhaps represents even more of a challenge, as it introduces yet more advanced military systems and is engaged in a strategy to improve its forces’ ability to operate at distance from the homeland.”