The UK/Dutch Shell Group has become the first international oil company (IOC) to abandon exploration activities in Libya since Muammar Gaddafi’s government was toppled last year.

Shell said exploration results had been disappointing and that further exploration could not be economically justified, according to media reports.

Libyan oil production returned close to pre-civil-war levels quickly after the end of the Gaddafi regime, but foreign skilled oil workers have largely failed to return.

Foreign oil companies have complained of harsh profit-sharing contracts and a persistently unstable security situation.

Shell had earmarked billions of dollars of investments in upstream oil operations and a major liquefied natural gas (LNG) project prior to the civil war in 2011.