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14

World Oil Giants Fight For Libya Oil

The world's biggest energy companies, including ExxonMobil Corp, BP Plc and Chevron Corp

The world?s biggest energy companies, including ExxonMobil Corp, BP Plc and Chevron Corp, are among 47 companies that qualified to bid in Libya?s third auction of oil drilling rights.

Libya will auction the permits on December 20. They give the permit holder the right to search for oil and gas in 14 offshore and onshore sites, covering a total area of 99,437sq km, almost the size of Cuba.

The list of the companies that will be allowed to bid includes US-based ConocoPhillips, Occidental Petroleum Corp, Marathon Oil Corp and Hess Corp. Contenders also come from Europe, Russia, Asia, Canada, Australia, South America and Africa.

In January 2005, Libya held its first bidding round since oil was discovered there, in 1959. Until then, the nation awarded blocks after talks with companies. Libya has proven crude-oil reserves of 39bn barrels and estimates potential reserves may be triple that amount.

Only a quarter of its territory is covered by agreements with oil companies.
The US sanctions were eased after Libya agreed in 2003 to pay $2.7bn to the families of those killed in the 1988 bombing of a Pan American jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, and to end programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction.