Foreign Oil Corporations Vie for Libyan Oil as New Government Takes Shape

New contracts and production will begin after June elections on a national assembly

by John Glaser, April 25, 2012

Foreign oil companies are vying for a piece in Libyan oil as the new government begins to take shape according to the industry’s interests which recognize Libya as possessing Africa’s largest crude oil reserves.

Corporations from around the world displayed their expertise in exploration, production, refining and services at a four-day conference in the war-torn country, called Oil & Gas Libya 2012. The interim Libyan government has said decisions on such issues of business contracts for exploration and production will begin after June elections for a national assembly.

Meanwhile, persistant instability in the country resulting from continued fighting among armed tribal factions and no true government to speak of is making oil corporations anxious.

“(We need) a stable environment … security. We also need answers to questions about what will be the role of IOCs (international oil companies) in the future,” said Jean-Daniel Blasco of France’s Total. “What will be the relationship between the ministry and National Oil Corporation? When will the next exploration rounds be issued? … will EPSA 4 remain the model for future exploration? These are the main questions.”

The intense lobbying and focus on the oil sector has “given more power to the oil ministry and carved up the responsibilities of the state’s National Oil Corporation,” reports Reuters. The close connection between these business interests, the government of the domestic nation, and the foreign policies of more powerful Western nations is likely to develop in a similar fashion that it has throughout the region.

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