BP shelves onshore work in Libya

March 7, 2014 at 7:15 AM
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LONDON, March 7 (UPI) -- British energy company BP said in an annual report it was exploring other options for exploration drilling onshore in Libya because of security concerns.

BP in 2007 secured exploration and production-sharing agreements with the Libyan government for the onshore Ghadames basin and the offshore Sirte basin. In an annual report filed Thursday, the company said planning for offshore exploration drilling was continuing.

"With respect to the onshore exploration drilling program, a security review in June concluded that this could not be safely and securely delivered by BP at this time," it said. "Alternative approaches are being considered."

London's commercial ties to Tripoli were questioned following the 2009 release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. BP was accused of playing a role in the decision to release him, though the allegations have been denied.

In February, Libya marked the third anniversary of a revolution that ended with the death of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The new Libyan government has struggled to maintain national security ever since.

In its February market report, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Libya was the standout in terms of production increases. From Dec. 13 to Jan. 14, Libyan oil production more than doubled to 510,000 barrels per day, well below the pre-civil war peak of 1.6 million bpd.

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