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In Libya, Western Oil Companies Root For The Rebels

It is unlikely European oil companies ENI, Repsol and Total will be able to return to their operations in Libya if Muammar Gaddafi's regime remains intact.

(Rul)

The future of Western oil companies in Libya appears increasingly linked to the outcome of the rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi.

Spanish Repsol, French Total and Italian ENI all have facilities in the country. "Their governments are de facto at war with the Libyan regime," says Samuel Cisznuk, Middle East energy analyst at IHS Cera. "An eventual return to normality will be very difficult if the regime currently in place does not collapse."

Colonel Gaddafi has threatened to nationalize Western-owned oil installations on Libyan soil and hand them over to Russian and Chinese companies. ENI, which is 30 percent owned by the Italian state, produces 270,000 barrels per day in Libya. Its Libyan operation is its biggest foreign subsidiary and accounts for nearly 14 percent of its global output. "The Italians have the most to lose," says one expert.

Washington implemented a raft of economic sanctions on Libya last week. Worried about its future, ENI challenged sanctions proposed by the European Union to stop oil exports out of Libya.

Read the original article in French

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Along The "New Border" Of Ukraine, Annexation Has Just Doubled The Danger

Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of Ukrainian territories in a ceremony in the Kremlin. In a village just a few kilometers away from what is now the Ukraine-Russia "border" in Putin's eyes, life continues amid constant shelling and the fear of what comes next.

Ukrainian soldiers are stationed in the village of Inhulka, near Kherson.

Stefan Schocher

INHULKA — The trail leads over a gravel road, a rickety pontoon bridge past a checkpoint. Here in the remote village of Inhulka near Kherson in southern Ukraine, soldiers sit in front of the village shop. Inside, two women run back and forth behind the counter, making coffee, selling sausages, weighing tomatoes. "Natalochka, where are the cookies," calls a dark-haired lady across the room.

But Natalochka, her colleague, is about to lose her nerve. "What kind of life is that?" she says, finally reaching up to grab the cookies from the top of a shelf. What kind of life can it be, she asks, when something is constantly exploding next to you and you don't know if you'll wake up in the morning.

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Inhulka is the center of a rural community. 1,587 inhabitants, as the village chief says, one school, one kindergarten, one doctor, two stores. Since March, nothing here is as it used to be. That was when the Russian army came to the village.

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