Libyan rebels in oil talks with Europe?

April 8, 2011 at 8:53 AM
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BENGHAZI, Libya, April 8 (UPI) -- Libyan rebel leaders are in discussions with several European energy companies regarding possible oil shipments, a Libyan representative said.

Libyan oil is being shipped from rebel-held ports despite an air campaign against fighters loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Rebel leaders are said to have reached deals with Qatar and Italy to deliver oil from Libyan ports.

Oil prices continued a steady march to more than $100 per barrel in part because most of Libya's oil production remains shuttered.

Wahid Bourgaighis, recently appointed to oversee oil interests for the rebel leadership, told the BBC that he was in negotiations about Libyan oil exports.

"We are in discussions with national oil companies (in Europe)," he told the British broadcaster, adding there were perhaps three interested in working with the rebels.

Meanwhile, Canadian Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, commander of NATO operations in Libya, denied allegations that his forces were responsible for fires at the Sarir oil fields in Libya.

"The only one responsible for this fire is the Gadhafi regime and we know he wants to disrupt oil getting to (rebel-held) Tobruk," he said in a statement.

Bourgaighis added that it was "in the interest of everybody" to have Libya's energy infrastructure protected during the conflict.

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