Western oil companies are in intense competition over the Libyan oil after National Transitional Council (NTC) announced it respects the country’s past oil deals.
Rainer Seele, who heads Germany’s Wintershall Co., says countries taking part in NATO operations in Libya, topped by Italy and France, are now racing for the Libyan oil, Deutsche Welle reported on Monday.
Libya produced 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil before the war and supplied two percent of the world’s oil by exporting 1.3 million bpd.
A large part of the country’s oil and gas reservoirs still remain unexplored.
In addition to Western concerns, high quality of the Libyan oil has even attracted Russian oil and gas companies. The former Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Tripoli in 2008 to discuss oil and gas cooperation.
Gerhard Roiss, head of the Austrian OMV Company, told German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung that it would take a year before oil output in Libya returned to pre-war levels.
“Pumping stations as well as Libyan terminals and ports have been badly damaged,” he added.
OMV started activities in Libya in 1985 and some of its contracts will not expire before 2030. Its chairman believes that the company’s activities will continue after Gaddafi is gone.
Revolutionaries believe that a small part of Libya’s frozen assets, which NTC estimates at about 170 billion dollars, will suffice to rebuild the country’s oil industry.
Glencore International, the world’s biggest dealer of raw materials, has already signed its first contract with NTC for transport of the Libyan crude.
Russian and French companies have been following suit while Italy is doing its best to retain its traditional share of the Libyan oil.
Oil accounts for over 95 percent of the country’s export revenues, which hit 97 percent in 2007. Before tension escalated in Libya, 38 percent of its exported oil went to Italy, 15 percent to Germany, 9 percent to Spain, 6 percent to Turkey, 6 percent to France, and 5 percent to the United States.
(Libya supplied 2 percent of the world’s oil before the war)