US oil firm Halliburton is expected to soon sign a $1B agreement with Libya's state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) to rebuild the Al-Dhara oil field in central Libya, and Honeywell is set to unveil a $400M contract with NOC to design and build a refinery in southern Libya, NOC chairman Farhat Bengdara told The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Thursday.

Libya is now seen as a workable environment for US firms to operate with reasonable safety and more predictably invest than was possible a few years ago, western oil officials told the WSJ.

Bengdara said the fact that Libya is close to Europe and that it has huge reserves reinforce its role in the energy market. Bengdara previously said he thought they could be a good alternative to Russian gas for Europe.

WSJ reported the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken as saying to a Senate committee that the US is actively working to partially reopen its embassy in Libya so that it can better support the prospects for Libyan elections.

The NOC aims over the next three to five years to increase its production to 2 million barrels per day, from about 1.2 million currently, and produce 4 billion cubic feet of gas per day, up from about 2.6 billion.

Last January, the NOC and the Italian company Eni, which produces most of the gas in Libya, signed an $8 billion deal to develop two gas fields to produce 850 million cubic feet per day for 25 years.