However, the sale is contingent on the EU’s approval of BP’s purchase in July of a 51 per cent stake in Veba Oelfrom the German utility E.ON. BP acquired VOG, which had a turnover last year of Eur 1,800 million ($1,682 million), as part of the transaction (MEED 27:7:01).

VOG produces around 165,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boe/d) in the Middle East. Libya is its most important market, where it trades under the name of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Veba Oil Libya (VOL). The company produces an estimated 90,000 boe/d from the Zenad/Ghani field in Block NC-11 and the Jofra, Lehib/Dor Marada, Tibisti, Barrut North and Amal fields in the Sirte basin. Its partner is the National Oil Corporation (MEED 30:11:01).

In Syria, VOG is a partner with the Royal Dutch/Shell Groupand the Syrian Petroleum Companyin Al-Furat Petroleum Company (AFPC). AFPC produced some 300,000 barrels a day (b/d) of oil last year. In Egypt, VOG holds a 49 per cent stake in the German Oil & Gas Egypt Company, which produces about 50,000 b/d from the Ras Budran, Ras Fanar and Zeit Bay fields in the Gulf of Suez (Oil & Gas, MEED Special Report, 23:3:01, pages 36-37).

Spain’s Repsol YPFand France’s TotalFinaElf are thought to be likely bidders for VOG, both of which already operate extensive assets in Libya. BP is understood to want any potential buyer to take on all of VOG’s upstream activities.