The Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC), British Petroleum (BP) and Italy's oil giant Eni have signed an agreement expected to lead to Eni and BP working together to resume exploration activities on a major exploration and production contract in Libya, NOC revealed.

NOC signed with Eni and BP a letter of intent (LOI) in London on Monday, represented by the NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanallah, BP group chief executive Bob Dudley and Eni chief executive officer Claudio Descalzi.

The new contract says Eni is going to acquire a 42.5% stake in the BP-operated exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA) in Libya., adding that on completion, Eni would also become operator of the EPSA.

BP currently holds an 85% working interest in the EPSA, with the Libyan Investment Authority holding the remaining 15%, the NOC reported on its website.

According to the NOC statement, transferring the operatorship to Eni gives the opportunity for the resumption of activity following completion of the transaction and relevant regulatory approvals.

“This agreement is a clear signal and recognition by the market of the opportunities Libya has to offer and will only serve to strengthen our production outlook. This initiative will hopefully drive further inward investment and facilitate higher production levels.” Sanallah commented.

As part of the LOI, the signatories also reconfirmed their commitment to promote technical training and other social initiatives in Libya.

BP and Eni intend to finalise and complete all agreements by the end of this year, with a target of resuming exploration activities in 2019, NOC explained.