Oil companies from the United States, Europe, and Asia are scrambling for a share in Libyan oil as the rebels’ Transitional National Council gradually works to take the place of the Gadhafi regime.
Many of the companies are eager to restart business deals they had with Gadhafi on more beneficial terms with the rebels. British Petroleum (BP) of the United Kingdom, Total of France, and ENI of Italy had major projects in Libya before the rebellion against Gadhafi began six months ago.
ENI, which was producing 196,000 barrels per day before the war, was sending technicians to back Libya even before Gadhafi’s fortified compound in Tripoli was overrun by rebels this week, so it may be the first to resume production. BP is likely to push a $1 billion deep-water exploration program in the Gulf of Sidra, part of a $900 million deal signed with Gadhafi in May 2007.
Other companies, like Gazprom from Russia and Repsol from Spain, are also looking to restart oil drilling, production, and export out of Libya, which has at least 41.5 billion barrels in reserves, the ninth largest in the world. Some have made the case that Libya’s high potential value as an oil exporter influenced the US-NATO decision to intervene on behalf of the rebels.