Smart Energy City will house companies in oil and gas industries and take three to five years to complete

Libya has started building a $5bn economic city for energy businesses in the region.

Smart Energy City will take between three and five years to construct, with the first phase, involving infrastructure, to be completed in 18 months. It will be located 70km west of Libya’s capital Tripoli, on the Mediterranean cost.

The client is a joint venture between Libya's state fund for economic and social development and Bahraini Islamic investment bank Gulf Finance House. Gulf Finance arranged the financing for the project, according to Reuters.

The economic zone will house companies in the oil and gas industries, including producers, refiners and those involved in support services and transporting energy.

The project is part of Libya’s plan to massively increase oil production and begin exporting gas. Libya plans to nearly double its crude oil production by 2012. The country also wants to increase gas production to 3 billion ft3 per day by 2010, rising to 3.8 billion ft3 in 2015. This compared with the current 2.7 billion ft3 per day.