DUBAI, (Reuters) – Bahraini Islamic investment bank Gulf Finance House GFHB.BH said on Wednesday it plans to build an economic zone for energy firms operating in Libya, which holds Africa’s largest oil reserves.
Gulf Finance, which invests according to Islamic principles, did not say in a statement how much it would invest in the zone, to be built 70 kilometres west of Libyan capital Tripoli on the Mediterranean Sea.
“We firmly believe Energy City Libya will help the country emerge as an international energy hub in addition to having a positive impact on the GDP,” Shokri Ghanem, president of Libya’s National Oil Corp, said in a statement.
Libya plans to nearly double crude oil production by 2012 with an investment outlay of between $30 to $40 billion, Ghanem said in December.
The country also wants to become a major gas producer and aims to increase production to 3 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) by 2010, with a potential for 3.8 bcfd by 2015, compared with 2.7 bcfd now.
Compared with other hydrocarbon provinces, Libya is under-developed because of years of international sanctions.
Gulf Finance, which is also building energy cities in India and Qatar, said last year it would seek direct investments in infrastructure projects.
The energy city would provide business infrastructure for oil and gas producers, refiners, and companies involved in shipping, energy trading and support services.
The bank said in October it had raised $630 million for an Indian infrastructure project and it would seek more cash for other investments.