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Russia and Libya sign new oil deal

Russia's oil giant has signed an agreement with the National Oil Corporation of Libya, it was revealed yesterday.

Rosneft Chairman Igor Sechin and NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla signed the Cooperation Framework Agreement yesterday at the start of London's International Petroleum Week. The two state companies will establish a joint working committee to further cooperation in exportation and production amongst other areas. Sanalla announced plans last month to encourage foreign oil companies to invest in Libya to boost the country's oil production to 2.1 million barrels per day by 2022.

Read: Libya's Muslim Brotherhood break their silence, respond to Haftar's accusations

Libya's oil production has dropped significantly since the 2011 uprising.

"We need the assistance and investment of major international oil companies to reach our production goals and stabilise our economy," Sanalla explained.

"This agreement with Russia's largest oil company lays the foundations for us jointly to identify areas of cooperation."

Russia's Rosneft, a once small firm, has grown in importance under President Vladimir Putin.

Read: Bodies of drowned refugees found on Libya's shores

Russian influence The latest deal between the two oil giants comes just a few days after the British defence minister warned Russia to stop interfering in Libyan affairs as Moscow's influence in the country grows.

Russia's interest in the country has caused concerns for NATO observing Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's growing proximity to Moscow and his numerous meetings with Russian officials over the past two years. "Putin is testing the west, he is testing the [NATO] alliance and at any point he sees weakness he pushes home. That's why it is important we stand up for our values and we continue to back the Sarraj government while urging it to be more representative of the interests of the east," British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon said last week.

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AfricaEurope & RussiaInternational OrganisationsLibyaNATONewsRussiaUK
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