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Geopolitics

In Libya, Western Oil Companies Root For The Rebels

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.

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Geopolitics

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-OpEd-

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