Further doubts about the exploration licensing round followed the wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle in early March, which saw the departure of National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman Abdullah al-Badri, the principle architect of the EPSA IV competitions.

The reshuffle also saw the closure of the Oil Ministry and the apparent demotion of Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem, a key ally of Al-Badri.

Speaking to reporters in Vienna, Al-Badri, who was heading the Libyan delegation, said: ‘There will be a licensing round this year. It’s the same policy. No change.’