Wintershall to step up oil operations in Libya

Oct 15, 2004 02:00 AM

Just two months after the German and Libyan governments stitched together an agreement that guarantees credits for German exports to the northern African country, the prospects for German businesses are looking good.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will travel to Libya to explore business opportunities in the North African country. During the chancellor's visit, Wintershall will finalize an agreement with a Norwegian oil company for oil exploration, development and production in Libya. The two companies are also considering exploration prospects off the Mediterranean coast of Libya and in the Sirte Basin east of Tripoli.

Wintershall, the oil arm of chemicals giant BASF, has been active in the Libyan oil and gas sector since 1958 and continued to explore and produce after the US embargo on that country in 1986. In 2001, Wintershall angered US politicians when it sought permission from Libya to drill in oil fields that formerly belonged to US companies whose operations had been frozen by US sanctions.
Wintershall accounts for 10 % of Libyan oil production, making it the country's third-largest oil producer. The company already has five oil fields and an offshore drilling site on the Libyan coast. Libya plans to hand out another 15 concessions by next January. Wintershall and Norsk Hydro said they would bid for these concessions.

Libya paved the way for stronger economic relations with Germany in early August by agreeing to pay $ 35 mm in what it called a "humanitarian gesture" to victims of the 1986 bombing of a Berlin discotheque. But the North African country has not admitted it was behind the bombing.
Just in time for the chancellor's trip, the European Union has lifted its weapons embargo against Libya, citing the vow of Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar el-Gaddafi, not to seek access to weapons of mass destruction. German business lobbyists see opportunities in Libya beyond the oil and military sectors. The country's manufacturing industry and telecommunications and IT infrastructure fell behind during the embargo years.

Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
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