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Libya: Second energy tender set for June

Government hopes delay will not harm investment drive

The Libyan energy sector is
attracting enormous international

Libyan oil minister Fathi Ben Shatwan has announced that the country's second oil licensing round will be delayed. The round, which now looks likely to take place in June at the earliest, should involve tenders for 44 blocks. Libya is aiming to attract $30 billion of investment in order to double production capacity to 3 million barrels a day before 2010. In the first licensing round in January, US Occidental successfully tendered for several blocks, while European firms failed to win the rights to drill for oil and gas in any of them. However, there is concern that the government might not have been satisfied with the bids it received in the first round, and might instead adjust the contract terms for the second round.

Tripoli's demands in the first round were already stringent, and will require continuing high oil and gas prices to justify the risks taken on by exploration companies.

Despite such concerns, the Libyan energy sector is attracting enormous international attention, having returned to the spotlight after two decades of virtual international isolation as a result of the government's foreign policy.

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