TRIPOLI, Libya, June 11 (UPI) -- The Libyan government opened a branch of the Oil Ministry in the former rebel capital of Benghazi, the state-owned oil company announced.
State-owned National Oil Corp. said the Oil Ministry opened offices in Benghazi, the first such move since the country's civil war began in February 2011, reports Bloomberg News.
Benghazi, the former rebel capital in the east of the country, was excluded by the former government of late dictator Moammar Gadhafi in favor of Tripoli.
The move, reports Bloomberg, is part of a national effort to expand the administrative capacity of the ministry and to decentralize its authority.
British energy company BP, a major player in the Libyan energy sector, announced in late May that it signed a deal with Libya's NOC.
BP declared force majeure Feb. 21, 2011, as the uprising against Gadhafi began. The company said that it agreed to lift the declaration with respect to its exploration and production sharing agreement with NOC, effective May 15.
The BP contract in Libya includes commitments to drill five offshore and 12 onshore wells. Exploration plans were interrupted by the events of 2011 before drilling operations began.