Libya Oil Contracts Won't Be Political Favors - NTC

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), Sep. 1, 2011

New contracts to produce oil and gas in Libya won't be awarded as political favors, but will be given to companies on merit after an open bid process, the U.K.-based coordinator and spokesman for the rebel National Transitional Council said Thursday.

"Oil contracts will be awarded on merit, not political favoritism," said Guma El-Gamaty in a telephone interview with Dow Jones Newswires. New oil contracts will be published and international companies invited to bid, he said.

French newspaper Liberation reported Thursday, citing a letter to the Emir of Qatar, that the NTC had promised "to assign 35% of [Libya's] crude oil to France in exchange for its total and permanent support of our council."

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told the paper he "had no knowledge" of a "formal accord" but it was "logical" that countries like France which helped the NTC take power should take part in reconstruction.

El-Gamaty declined to comment on the report.

International oil companies, including France's Total, will most likely continue to play a prominent role in Libya's oil sector because of their long experience producing oil in the country already, El-Gamaty said.

"We expect them to be bidding," he said.

French oil company Total's Chief Executive earlier said he wasn't aware of such a deal.

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