Dubai: Gulf Finance House (GFH) signed on Sunday a Memorandum of Understanding with Libya's Econ-omic and Social Development Fund to create Libya's first energy business district - Energy City Libya.

Energy City Libya will be developed on a 528-acre site in the city of Sabratha, adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea and 70 kilometres west of Tripoli, the Libyan capital.

Energy City Libya will include commercial, residential, hospitality and retail clusters to support the energy component.

The development is estimated to be worth approximately $3.8 billion once completed.

The MoU was signed by Hamad Al Hadhari, president of the Libyan Social Development Fund, and Esam Janahi, chairman of Gulf Finance House at a ceremony attended by Dr. Shokri Ganem, president of the Libyan National Oil Corporation and CEO of Al Qadafi Development.

"The Energy City concept will reinforce and consolidate Libya's energy industry by providing complete business infrastructure to both local as well as foreign oil and gas producers, downstream refiners and producers and businesses involved in shipping, energy trading and support services," a statement said.

Al Hadhari said, "GFH's initiative will help attract more foreign direct investment, particularly from the Gulf. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with GFH."

Regional benefits

Dr. Ganem said, "Energy City Libya will not only benefit Libya but the region as a whole. The Libyan National Oil Corporation is committed to providing its full support to this project."

Janahi said, "The Libyan investment climate is undergoing major changes with the oil and gas sector receiving unprecedented interest from global players. With proven crude oil reserves of 41 billion barrels Libya has the largest reserves in Africa (42 per cent) and three per cent of the world's reserves.

"The Libyan National Oil Corporation aims to boost oil production from 1.8 million barrels per day to two million in 2008 and three million by 2013, which is estimated to require total investment of $30 billion."

The Energy City concept is promoted by GFH along with Gulf Energy, the international energy consulting company.