Tripoli, 8 November 2013:
The clashes in Tripoli last night today have led Italian foreign minister Emma Bonino to say today that the country was “absolutely out of control”.
In the course of a wider interview given to Republicca TV, Bonino, commenting on last night’s fighting in the capital said : “Libya is absolutely out of control”. She said that just how bad the situation had become was evidenced by the fact that the Italian oil and gas firm ENI, which is the National Oil Company’s largest and longest-standing foreign partner “Is threatening to close wells”.
Bonino went on to say that only a political solution would solve the criss and there was no room for military intervention.
It was not possible to contact ENI this evening for a reaction to Bonino’s statement that it was preparing to close in wells. With the blockade of export terminals and gas and oil pipelines, fields have effectively been closed in anyway. However if Benino’s comments presaged an actually suspension of ENI’s Libya operations, with the possible exception of the key Gulfstream gas pipeline, then consequences for outside investment in Libyan hydrocarbons could be extremely serious.
Only two weeks ago ENI CEO Paolo Scaroni was being notably bullish about Libya’s prospects, commenting that despite the widespread distribution of weapons, the country was notably peaceful. Views may have changed with the Amazigh blockade of the gas flow from the Wafa field into the Greenstream trans-Mediterranean pipeline. This has only kept any flow thanks to gas from the offshore El Bouri field, which is plumbed directly into the pipeline.