29 August 2011, Sweetcrude, Tripoli – Eni chief executive officer, Paulo Scaroni, became the first foreign oil company boss to set foot on Libyan soil since rebels took the capital Tripoil. He arrived Monday and is meeting with the rebel leaders.
“He is in Benghazi and meeting with the head of National Oil Company. They are discussing Eni’s interests in Libya,” National Transitional Council (NTC) spokesman, Shamsiddin Abdulmolah, told Reuters.
Scaroni was reported to be in discussions with members of the rebel government in the town in eastern Libya in a move by the Italian energy giant to secure its interests in the North African country, where it was the biggest foreign oil producer before the uprising against leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Eni is keen to mend relations with rebel leaders after hesitant Italian support for the uprising in its early stages. The company is expected to offer emergency fuel supplies to Libya in an effort to help rebels consolidate their control.
A Western diplomatic source said payment for the fuel would come out of the $8 billion of Libyan assets that Italy froze as part of sanctions against Gaddafi, whose 42-year rule appears to have come to an end.
Oil traders said Eni was seeking to book a tanker for arrival in Libya this week.
Tripoli and other parts of the war-ravaged country are facing a humanitarian crisis due to critical shortages of food, water, fuel and other necessities.