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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Who will grab Gaddafi’s oil?

Sulaiman Kamal | 1:40 AM | | | Best Blogger Tips

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THE bullets flying over Tripoli mark the end to Colonel Gaddafi's brutal reign in Libya.
And it gives the green light to the world's biggest energy companies – desperate to unlock some of the biggest oil and gas riches in the world.
Libya holds more reserves than any other country in Africa with more than 40billion barrels of "black gold".
Giants including BP all quit the country when the revolution started in February.
BP was just days away from drilling its first exploration well in a vast "block" – Ghadames – to the west of the country.

Now – as the Libyan rebels start to draw up plans for their own government – oil and gas will be at the top of their agenda.
And the vast reserves are at the top of the minds of energy giants around the world.
Expert Philip Lambert, from Lambert Energy Advisory, said: "There are tens of billions of barrels still out there."
Libya has long been a "jewel in the crown" for the world's oil industry. It holds huge reserves.
And the crude is the right kind of oil: Light, sweet crude perfect for low-sulphur fuels desired in the modern world.
Libya's production was up to 1.6 million barrels a day when the uprising began. It has since shrunk to 60,000.
Its importance was reflected by the huge spike in the oil price in February – and its fall when the rebels entered Tripoli this week.
Libya was opened up to foreign investment when sanctions were lifted in 2003.
Italian giant ENI holds the trump card in the Libyan industry, given the long-held ties between the Gaddafi regime and the country.
Spain's Repsol is another with a foot in the door. But Russian and Chinese rivals including CNOOC are licking their lips at the riches in store.
The coming weeks will be critical for our own giant, BP.
It was one of many booted out when the industry was nationalised by Gaddafi in the Seventies.
Its return in 2007 is one of the most controversial moments of Tony Blair's tenure as PM.
BP's former chief executive Tony Hayward and Blair flew to Libya as the company was awarded the rights to explore 54,000 sq km (21,000 sq miles) for oil and gas.
Critics claim BP must have been involved in talks to release Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi back to Tripoli two years ago – claims it strenuously denies.
A spokesman last night said it expected BP to return – once the dust settles.
He said: "Assuming they want us, we're going back."
A Libyan rebel representative for reconstruction, Ahmed Jehani, has hinted that all existing deals would be honoured.
Mr Lambert added: "Libya is a country on Europe's doorstep. It's got huge potential. The world needs more oil and, with a benevolent partnership between government and oil companies, this potential could now be unlocked."


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