Tripoli has approved the agreement between National Oil Corporation (NOC)and California-based Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) allowing the US company to resume operations on the three oil concessions it was forced to abandon in 1986 when the US imposed economic sanctions on the country.
The concessions, which were signed in the early 1970s and cover about nine fields, have been managed and operated by state-owned Zueitina Oil Companysince the withdrawal. Gross production from the three concessions is about 70,000-80,000 barrels a day (b/d), of which Oxy's share will be 12,000-15,000 b/d. The company will return under the terms of its original agreements, which continue until 2009-10. However, it hopes to immediately commence negotiations for new agreements. The approval applies from 1 July. Four other US oil companies - Conoco, Marathon Oil Company, Amerada Hessand Grace Petroleum- say they are still awaiting approval of an agreement reached with NOC in December 2004 allowing them to return to their operations. The Oasis consortium created by the four firms had secured an agreement allowing them to re-enter the country on new terms, including a 25-year extension to their existing concessions. However, the deal was rejected in February by the General People's Congress. The combined former assets of the Oasis group produce about 300,000 b/d and are currently operated by the state-owned Waha Oil Company (MEED 29:7:05).