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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 15:54 GMT
US oil chiefs expected in Libya
Tripoli, Libya
US oil workers left in 1986
The prospect of US oil firms making a quick return to Libya has risen after officials said company representatives are expected in Tripoli this month.

"We are waiting for an American delegation to come here at the end of the month," said Foreign Minister Mohamed Abderrhmane Chalgam on Tuesday.

Libya is seeking to end US sanctions which date back to the early 1980s.

European oil companies are already operating in the country, which is the world's ninth largest crude producer.

"When America comes here our production will be better and we will have American technology," said Mr Chalgam.

Frozen assets

American oil companies left the country in 1986, when Washington expanded sanctions against Libya, following the bombing of a Berlin night club.

Congressman Curt Weldon speaks after stepping off the first US-flagged plane to land in Libya for many years last month
American officials returned for talks last month
Last week, the US lifted travel restrictions to the country, after Colonel Muammar Gaddafi pledged to scrap its nuclear arms programme.

Future discussions will focus on US companies' assets in the country which were frozen by the embargo.

Marathon Oil, ConocoPhillips, Amerada Hess and Occidental Petroleum all had concessions in Libya.

Mr Chalgam was speaking at a joint press conference with International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who is in Libya for talks.

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