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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Libya awards more oil contracts
Oil refinery
European oil firms have made up for their earlier disappointment
Asian and European oil firms have won most of the contracts on offer at Libya's second open licence auction.

Five Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi and Nippon Petroleum, were awarded permits to develop oil fields.

Italy's Eni Gas and British Gas were also successful, with just one US firm, Exxon Mobil, gaining a contract.

In January, Libya's first offer of exploration licences in 40 years mainly benefited US oil companies, prompting complaints from European firms.

US and EU trade sanctions against Tripoli were lifted last year after Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi agreed to renounce weapons of mass destruction.

Light crude

Dozens of companies from all over the world put in bids for the 44 different concessions on offer in Libya, which has the world's eighth-largest oil reserves.

The country is a major producer of light crude oil, the kind favoured by refineries.

Many of the plots offered by Libya's state-owned National Oil Corporation were in established oil-producing areas, including the central Sirte region, Ghadames in the west and Murzuq in the south-west.

The others are in the eastern areas of Cyrenaica and Kufra.

Some bidders won several different permits, led by Eni Gas, which was awarded four, and British Gas, which won three.

Other successful firms, either in their own right or as part of joint ventures, included Total, Oil India, China's CNBC, Indonesia's Pertamina and Norsk Hydro.

The latest auction comes two months after US-based Occidental Petroleum Corporation, the biggest winner in January's round, announced that it had resumed operations in Libya for the first time in 19 years.

The company was forced to abandon production in Libya in 1986 because of sanctions imposed by President Ronald Reagan and its facilities were taken over by the Libyan state oil company.


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