European and Asian oil companies have dominated Libya’s second exploration licensing round taking all but one of the 23 oil and gas exploration licences awarded. Italy’s Eni and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporationwere the biggest winners scooping four awards each.

Analysts said the European and Asian companies bid aggressively after performing poorly in Tripoli’s first post-sanctions licensing round in January. That round was dominated by US oil firms, particularly Occidental Petroleum Corporation, which took nine of the 15 licences awarded. The only US success in the latest round went to ExxonMobil Corporation, which took block 44.

‘The American bids were similar to the ones in the last round,’ says one UK-based analyst.’ But the Europeans have come in much more aggressively.’

The round attracted strong interest with about 48 international oil companies submitting a total of 99 bids for the 26 blocks on offer. Three blocks remain open. The client is National Oil Corporation (MEED 2:9:05).

Libya is seeking to increase oil production to about 3 million barrels a day (b/d) from about 1.64 million b/d. National Oil Corporation (NOC)is already planning its third EPSA-IV exploration licensing round. ‘The next round will be in the beginning of first quarter of next year,’ NOC chairman Abdulla al-Badri told reporters after the awards.