The new contracts, which are expected to last 30 years, update previous deals signed by them with NOC and cover all blocks under exploration by the two companies.

NOC is in the process of changing the terms and conditions of its contracts with oil majors as part of its bid to nearly double oil production to 3 million barrels-a-day (b/d) by 2012, from about 1.7 million b/d currently.

Earlier this month Italian oil major Eni signed a new oil contract with NOC which ends in 2042 and a gas deal expiring in 2047.

On 22 June the Libyan state-run firm also signed a new 30-year agreement with Petro-Canada for exploration and appraisal.