ExxonMobil Operations in Libya

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In 2005, ExxonMobil returned to Libya after the lifting of US sanctions, following an absence of almost 25 years. Previous incarnations Exxon and Mobil both once had significant business interests in Libya, producing the country's first oil field and shipping oil to market. However, the companies pulled out of Libya in the early 1980s after US-Libyan relations deteriorated.[1]

Geologists for Jersey Standard (which became known by its trade name Esso) in fact first surveyed Libya in 1947. In 1965, Esso Libya began building the Marsa el Brega LNG plant, one of the first LNG (liquefied natural gas) plants in the world, and operated it until 1981.[2]

In 2009, ExxonMobil Libya Ltd, the company's affiliate in the country, started drilling the first deepwater exploration well in Libya in collaboration with the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) offshore in the Sirte Basin, north-east of the city of Misrata.[3] However, reports by Exxon executives in 2010 suggested that the well was commercially unviable and 'ultimately proved to be unsuccessful'.[4]

In March 2011, spokesmen for Exxon claimed that the company had evacuated all expatriate employees from the country, but claimed that their operations were relatively unaffected.[5] As of early 2013 it was unclear whether Exxon had restarted operations in the country.


  1. "Oil giant Exxon returns to Libya", BBC News, 6 December 2005.
  2. "Early milestones" ExxonMobil Middle East and North Africa, retrieved 7 October 2011.
  3. "ExxonMobil Commences Drilling Libya's First Deepwater Well" ExxonMobil Media, 16 July 2009.
  4. "Exxon offshore Libya well not a success-exec" Reuters, 16 September 2010.
  5. "Exxon offshore Libya well not a success-exec" Reuters, 16 September 2010.