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Last Updated: Friday, 30 December 2005, 10:46 GMT
More US oil firms return to Libya
Oil refinery
The gates are open and oil companies are flooding back
Three US oil companies are resuming their oil and gas operations in Libya after a 19-year absence.

ConocoPhilips, Marathon Oil and Amerada Hess had their exploration contracts suspended in the 1980s after the US imposed sanctions on Libya.

But since the US lifted its embargo on Libya last year, other oil giants including ExxonMobil have returned.

The three firms, under a partnership venture called Oasis Group, will pay $1.3bn (753m) to resume operations.

The Libyan National Oil Corporation will hold a 59.2% interest in the country's Waha oil concessions, while Marathon and Conoco will each hold 16.3%. Amerada will hold the remaining 8.2%.

The terms of the 25-year deal are similar to those that were in force before the companies' contracts were suspended in 1986.

Oil concessions from the Sirte Basin region are expected to produce about 350,000 barrels per day.

Major exporter

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

In its February 2005 report, the US Department of Energy announced that Libya was ready to become a major oil exporter again, especially to Europe.

Asian and European oil firms have already won many of the contracts on offer. Five Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi and Nippon Petroleum, have been awarded permits to develop oil fields.

Italy's Eni Gas and British Gas have also been successful, as have Occidental Petroleum, Chevron and Exxon Mobile.

Libya has the world's eighth-largest oil reserves and the country is a major producer of light crude oil, the kind favoured by refineries.

Oil giant Exxon returns to Libya
06 Dec 05 |  Business
Libya awards more oil contracts
03 Oct 05 |  Business

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