Image Source: Huffington Post
Recent events around the Macondo well blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico, Libya seems to have some concerns about deepwater drilling, at least when done by BP. From IREN:
TEHRAN (IREN) – Libya wants assurances from BP after its handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill but will allow it to start deep-water drilling in the Mediterranean, the country’s top oil official said Monday. “At this point we’re not suspending anything and we’re going to drill pretty soon and some of the work will be in deep water,” Shokri Ghanem, the head of Libya’s National Oil, or NOC, told Zawya Dow Jones in a phone interview. “But they are taking precautions and what happened in the Gulf of Mexico will be a learning process.” BP and its Libyan partner, the Libya Investment, or LIC, in May 2007 signed an exploration and production deal with NOC worth at least $900 million for the onshore Ghadames and offshore Sirt areas.
That deal was hailed by BP in 2007 as “BP’s single biggest exploration commitment” by none other than Tony Hayward:
BP and its Libyan partner, the Libya Investment Corporation (LIC), today signed a major exploration and production agreement with Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC). The initial exploration commitment is set at a minimum of $900million, with significant additional appraisal and development expenditures upon exploration success.
The agreement was signed today in Sirt, Libya, by BP’s group chief executive Tony Hayward and NOC chairman, Shokri Ghanem.
During this exploration and appraisal phase, BP will acquire 5,500km of 2D seismic and 30,000 km2 of 3D seismic and will drill 17 exploration wells.
“We are delighted to be working with the National Oil Company of Libya to develop their natural resources for domestic and international markets. Our agreement is the start of an enduring, long-term and mutually beneficial partnership with Libya,” said Tony Hayward, BP group chief executive.
“With its potentially large resources of gas, favourable geographic location and improving investment climate, Libya has an enormous opportunity to be a source of cleaner energy for the world,” said Hayward.
Obviously, there were certain not so obvious deals going on – or may have been going on – that the public was and is not aware of. The WSJ wrote in September 2009:
LONDON — British oil giant BP PLC lobbied the U.K. in late 2007 over a controversial prisoner transfer agreement with Libya, and oil-rich Qatar lobbied Scotland on the case in June. Revelations of the efforts Friday fed speculation by opposition politicians and victims’ families that the recent release of the convicted Lockerbie bomber is entangled with oil interests.
U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said the U.K. didn’t pressure Scotland to free Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the 1988 bombing of a Pan-Am flight that killed 270 people. He has strenuously denied accusations by political opponents that a deal to release Mr. al-Megrahi was made to facilitate the U.K.’s oil interests in Libya.
The Times noted on August 15, 2009:
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.
Al Megrahi was released on August 19, 2009. Of course, since nothing in life and in business is connected to each other, this is a complete coincidence. If it were not, it would mean that BP has a hell of a lot of influence on governments. You would need to assume that it can even sway the opinion of courts, that would then be fascism, wouldn’t it.