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Following the Money in Libya

Western Companies In; Eastern Companies Out As War Winds Down

by Geordie Gwalgen Dent


Toronto - The victory of the rebels in Libya's recent conflict and their taking of Tripoli have created a stampede by foreign companies trying top shore up the countries oil resources.  

Libya holds the largest oil and gas reserves in Africa.  

With the war against Muammar Gaddafi's dictatorship in Libya coming to a quick close, foreign companies have begun to carve up the states oil reserves.

Chief among them, Italian oil and gas giant Eni saw their shares spike after they sent a technical team into Libya to talk to the rebels about future oil production.  Their chief executive, Paolo Scaroni, recently told the Financial Times that within a year Eni "will find itself in the usual position of strength.  We know the place by heart, many Libyans have worked for us and our contracts were renewed not too long ago."

While many of these contracts were negotiated under the rule of Gaddafi, it's common place for new regimes in developing countries to continue contracts from Western companies.  In addition, the 2008 treaty between Gaddafi and Italy promised $5 billion in reparations by Italy due to the 30 years of colonial rule by Italy in the early 1900's.  

Eni was the largest foreign operator in Libya before the uprising began with almost fifteen percent of their oil production coming from Libya operations.  Hundreads of Italian companies operated in Lybia before the war began.  Twenty eight percent of Libya exports went to Italy while Italy received twenty three percent of it's oil needs from Libya.

Though Eni has been in contact with the rebels since April (shortly after the second-largest state-run oil company defected) it is unclear whether they should have been.  UN sanctions prevent countries from engaging in oil production during a civil war and prevent companies from doing business with factions during a civil war.

Speaking in Reuters, ConocoPhillips spokesman John McLemore said, "We have no intention of returning to Libya at the moment, as we don't know what's going on.  We are not in contact with the rebels or the Gaddafi people. We are abiding by the (United Nations) sanctions and if or when they are lifted we will decide what to do."  ConocoPhillips had a number of projects in Libya before the war (they also have a number of joint projects with Canadian oil-giant Suncor in Colorado).

While Eni's production should remain similar to what it was before the war, a number of companies stand to win and lose thank the the NATO supported occupation.  

Italy's Eni stands to resume or boost production as does French oil-giant Total, who Reuters sources claimed had heavily supported the rebels.  Other rebel supporters who stand to benefit include Qatar's state-run oil company and Dutch Vitol who were not producing in Libya before the war.  Shell has also been rumoured to be in negotiations.

Speaking in Reuters, Abdeljalil Mayouf, information manager at Libyan rebel oil firm AGOCO said, "We don't have a problem with Western countries like the Italians, French and UK companies. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil."  AGOCO, based in Benghazi, was formerly part of the Libyan National Oil Corporation before defecting to the rebels in March.

Likely, the billions of dollars in new contracts and expanded production are simply going to be taken from someone else.

Chinese state-owned companies have already started to shut down projects in Libya due to the war and could stand to lose out on close to 50 projects if the rebels do not resume their contracts.  Brazilian companies Petrobras and Odebrecht could lose too, while proclamations from Russia sound apocalyptic.

“We have lost Libya completely,” said Aram Shegunts of the Russia-Libya Business Council in Reuters. “Our companies will lose everything there because NATO will prevent them from doing business in Libya.”


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Gwalgen Dent (Gwalgen Geordie Dent)
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Comments

Maybe you should check the

Maybe you should check the spelling of a country before you make a post about cette country.

Libya

Whoops!

Thanks...and fixed. 

NATO's Canadian Butcher-Boy in Libya: Charles Bouchard

There has been very little reportage domestically and internationally about the leading role of Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, Commander of NATO's 'Operation Unified Protector' in Libya. NATO's Canadian butcher-boy has final approval of all targeting. As such he would certainly be first and foremost in any warcrimes exposure, as has been allleged by many knowledgeable commentators. Perhaps this explains why the Canadian mainstream media has been so reticent  in covering Bouchard. Perhaps, since it is a Canadian with ultimate authority and responsibility for the destruction of Libya and civilian deaths,  his awful office and role is better known. The National Post recently reported on the substantial role of Canadian airpower in bombing Libya, observing that Canada "again, punched well above its weight." The media suppression of this story must be countered with more articles like the excellent one above.

How well-informed can the

How well-informed can the author be if they can't even spell "Libya" correctly?

Cororate Interests in Libya

This may in part explain the determination of NATO to conduct their illegal war against the Libyan state to the fullest. The complete elimination of the Libyan regime could provide the openiing for these western based companies. If NATO had not bombed the rebels to success the Ghadaffi government would have justifiably taken to account the western companies who sought to benefit by supporting the Rebel Insurgency.

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