More than 100 companies were represented at the meetings, which outlined state-owned NOC’s plans for its first bidding round since the easing of US sanctions earlier in the year. The meetings included a presentation on the contractual framework, a technical summary of the individual concession areas and an explanation of the bidding process terms and conditions. ‘It was essentially a clarification meeting outlining the steps in the bidding process,’ says one attendee.

A total of 15 concessions divided into 55 blocks are on offer to IOCs. Interested companies not currently operating in the country have been invited to submit letters of application to NOC by 28 September, with prequalified firms to be announced on 19 October. Oil firms already working in Libya will be automatically shortlisted. The data room will be open from 20-29 October, during which the final EPSA-4 model and terms will be presented. The deadline for the submission of bids is 10 January 2005. Bids will be opened publicly the same day and signings will take place later in the same month.

The launch of EPSA-4, in mid-August, was a pivotal moment in Tripoli’s rehabilitation with the West and a major industry event. With the lifting of the embargo, IOCs are free to invest in the country for the first time in more than 20 years without fear of US sanctions (MEED 20:8:04).