The release of the Lockerbie bomber from prison would liberate Britain’s largest industrial company from a string of problems hampering its $900 million (£546 million) Libyan gas projects, industry sources claimed last night.
BP, the oil giant, signed a deal with Libya in 2007 to explore for gas in the west of the country and offshore. But since then it has faced a string of bureaucratic obstacles, including delays securing official permits and approvals to import equipment through Libyan customs, the sources said.
They added that BP’s work programme, conducting geological studies on the Sitre basin, an offshore block the size of Belgium, had been hit by delays securing official paperwork for the next scheduled phase of work. “Now that al-Megrahi is released, BP expects to get the go-ahead,” said one source in Libya.
Dr Bassam Fattouh, an expert on the Libyan oil industry at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, added that Libya, which was opened up to foreign companies after sanctions were lifted in 2003, had proved to be a “difficult business environment” for BP and other companies. “BP was having difficulty getting heavy equipment into the country,” he said. However, BP denied that it had faced anything more than routine problems in Libya. A spokesman said that the company was very happy with progress so far. Read more here ...
Source: Times Online