Rent-Seekers Race to Profit in War Torn Libya

Coalition governments have already begun facilitating business relationships with the rebel council

Major businesses are gunning for first dibs on Libya’s natural resources as a new race to turn a profit out of the war-torn nation begins. Many business leaders, most with close connections to their respective governments, are planning to send representatives to Benghazi to meet leaders of the Transitional National Council (TNC).

International oil companies from Europe, America, Russia, China, and the Middle East, many with previous business ties in Libya, are preparing to resume exploration, drilling, and production as soon as it is safe and Gadhafi is out. Billions of dollars are being invested in Libyan oil fields, which are currently producing a 10th of the 1.6 million barrels a day that were exported pre-conflict.

There is also an intense lobbying effort for the multibillion-dollar reconstruction contracts that US and NATO governments are expected to issue once security is restored. “It is still too fluid a situation in Libya to be able to say exactly what we are doing,” one official at a company involved in reconstruction efforts in Iraq told The Independent. “If business goes back to Libya, we will undoubtedly follow.”

Expectedly, those governments involved in the air campaign and proxy war to oust Gadhafi have had a jump start in facilitating the corporatist industrial and reconstruction plans. France and Germany have already begun trade negotiations with the TNC, and Britain and America — which has spent nearly one billion dollars on the war — are sure to follow suit.

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.