Western Libya Gas Project (WLGP)

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The Western Libya Gas Project (WLGP) is a large-scale integration of upstream, processing and export facilities[1] and the first major initiative to export Libyan gas to Europe.[2]

Libya became the second country in the world to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 1971,[3] but until the establishment of the WLGP in 2004, the only customer for Libya's natural gas was Spain's Enagas.[4] Through the WLGP Libya now exports compressed gas to Italy[5] and the broader European market, in addition to supplying the domestic Libyan market with gas for feedstock or power generation.[6]

The components making up the WLGP are the following:

  • gas compression station at Mellitah (MGCS)
  • 32-inch Offshore Pipeline (OPL), 516 kilometres (km) long, to export gas from compressor station to Sicily.
  • 32-inch offshore spur (SPUR), 7.4 km long, on Sicilian shore approach.
  • receiving terminal in Sicily (SRT) to receive gas from the OPC and feed into Italian gas transport network.[7]

Route and capacity

Facilities at Mellitah
The WLGP involves piping gas from two fields, Bahr Essalam (110 kilometres off the Libyan coast) and Wafa (500 kilometres inland near the Algerian border), to a treatment plant and compressor station at Mellitah, about 80 kilometres west of Tripoli. The gas and crude from Wafa is conveyed to Mellitah via two 530-kilometre pipelines (with diameters of 32 and 16 inches), while two subsea pipelines (36 and 10 inches) bring in gas from Bar Essalam.[8] From Mellitah the gas is sent to Sicily via the Greenstream underwater pipeline, which lies at a maximum depth of 1,127 metres,[9] has a diameter of 32 inches and is the longest pipeline in the Mediterranean.[10] In 2009 GreenStream BV, the company owning and managing the gas pipeline, upgraded it by 3 billion cubic meters per year (bcm/y), bringing its total capacity to 11 bcm/y.[11]

In 2010 the WLGP carried approximately 10.25 bcm, of which 8.75 bcm were delivered via the Greenstream pipeline to Italy, while 1.5 bcm were sold on the Libyan market.[12] Of the gas sent to Europe, Italy's Edison Gas takes about half (4 bcm) and uses it for power generation in Italy. The remaining gas is taken and traded by other European companies, mainly Italy's Energia Gas and Gaz de France (around 2 bcm each).[13]

The Greenstream pipeline suffered eight months of stoppages due to the 2011 conflict. Preliminary operations restarted in October of that year.[14]


Until 2010 Italian oil company Eni held a 25 percent stake in the development, alongside the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) with the remaining 25 percent. Greenstream BC was the company set up to manage the venture.[15]

The project was launched in 1999 and completed in 2004 at a cost of €8.7 billion. According to the Petroleum Economist the project solidified Eni's position as a major player in the Libyan hydrocarbon market. The company's average daily operated production in Libya increasing from 230,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) in 2004[16] to 273,000 boe/d in 2010.[17]

In April 2010 Eni sold one third of its 75 percent stake of GreenStream BV. This divestment brought Eni €93 million but also decreased its share in the company to 50 percent, taking away control of the company.[18]


  1. "CALM Buoy for the The Western Libyan Gas Project Wafa Plant" Bluewater Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  2. "Western Libya Gas Project" Eni, retrieved 7 October 2011.
  3. "Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development Handbook" International Business Publications, 2007.
  4. "Energy Profile of Libya" The Encyclopedia of Earth, retrieved 8 October 2011.
  5. "Western Libya Gas Project" Eni, retrieved 7 October 2011.
  6. "Energy Profile of Libya" The Encyclopedia of Earth, retrieved 8 October 2011.
  7. "The Greenstream pipeline" Eni Greenstream, retrieved 30 January 2013.
  8. "Eni: the Western Libya Gas Project gets underway" Gulf Oil and Gas, 10 July 2004.
  9. "Western Libya Gas Project" Eni, retrieved 7 October 2011.
  10. "Greenstream" Eni, retrieved 7 October 2011.
  11. "Interim Consolidated Report" Eni, 30 June 2010.
  12. "Annual Report 2010" Eni, retrieved 7 October 2011.
  13. "Energy Profile of Libya" The Encyclopedia of Earth, retrieved 7 October 2011.
  14. "NOC and Eni restart Greenstream pipeline" Eni, 13 October 2011.
  15. "Sustainability Report 2009" Eni North Africa, 2009.
  16. "Libya: Gas export project inaugurated" Petroleum Economist, 1 November 2004.
  17. "Annual Report 2010" Eni, retrieved 7 October 2011.
  18. "Interim Consolidated Report" Eni, 30 June 2010.