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EU oil companies get set to return to Libya

In World News on August 23, 2011 at 11:57 am

By Andrew Rettman

EU oil firms are preparing to return to Libya amid good will generated by Nato support. The military alliance has also carried out “prudent planning” for a potential peacekeeping mission.

Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini on Monday (22 August) said energy company Eni has sent a delegation to meet rebel leaders in Benghazi after opposition forces entered Tripoli at the weekend, signalling the end of the Gaddafi regime.

“I won’t be revealing any secrets if I say that Eni technicians have already been called to Benghazi to reactivate plants … The facilities were made by Italians and therefore it is clear that Eni will play a No. 1 role in the future,” he told Rai TV.

Eni spokesman Cesaro Fabio declined to comment on the Benghazi trip. He told EUobserver that Eni’s oil and gas licences in the country are valid until between 2042 and 2047, however. The firm’s pre-war oil output in Libya was 270,000 barrels a day. It also operated the 10-billion-cubic-metre-a-year Greenstream gas pipeline.

Stefan Leunig, a spokesman for Germany’s Wintershall, previously on 100,000 barrels a day, said: “Starting up production could be done within several weeks under standard technical conditions. This of course depends on the state of the export infrastructure as well as a stable security situation.”

A spokeswoman for French firm Total said: “We are monitoring the situation closely to see when we can restart operations.” A spokesman for Austria’s OMV said it last had contact with rebel leaders in…

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