Libya announced May 29 it will sign a $900-million exploration deal with BP, marking a return by the UK oil giant to the North African country after a 33-year absence. The announcement came ahead of a visit to Tripoli by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is starting a tour of Africa before he leaves office next month. “BP will be announcing that they’re going back into Libya,” a spokesperson for Blair said, confirming that the outgoing premier was due to hold talks with Libyan leader Moammar Qadaffi.
The OPEC member is Africa’s second-largest oil producer at 1.7-million barrels per day, and also has large natural gas reserves. Libya’s oil sector languished under recently lifted UN sanctions imposed after a US airliner was downed in 1988 by a bomb over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people. (AFP, May 29)
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