Libya Starts 3rd Oil Round, Deadline For Bids December 20

LONDON Aug 15, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Libya kicked off its third licensing round Tuesday offering up 41 blocks in 14 areas both on and offshore, according to Libya's National Oil Company Web site.

This is the first bidding round under Libya's new oil chief Shokhri Ghanem and the third for Libya since it reopened to foreign investment after U.S. sanctions were eased in 2004.

Decades of sanctions have left Libya's oil sector vastly under-explored. The country also has very competitive exploration, development and operational costs as well as being relatively safe and open to foreign investment with its use of production-sharing agreements.

According to the NOC, technical summary of the individual areas and the bidding process will take place in Tripoli Aug. 24 and in London Aug. 31.

Any company that's interested in bidding has to submit qualifying documents no later than Sept. 9 and the companies will be informed if they qualify by Sept. 22.

The data room will be open in Tripoli from Sept. 27 to Oct. 11.

The deadline for bids to be submitted is Dec. 20 and the winners will be announced that day. The contracts are expected to be signed during the first half of 2007.

Libya's bidding rounds have drawn much interest because its low-sulfur, sweet crude is easy to process into high-value petroleum products such as gasoline.

Other advantages for Libya are its proximity to key European refining centers in the Mediterranean and its shorter tanker travel time to U.S. markets than Persian Gulf producers.

In the first round at the beginning last year, U.S. oil companies, or the consortia in which they played a leading role, scooped up 11 of the 15 contracts on offer. The second licensing round, however, attracted bids from companies both big and small from all over the world.

Libya plans to be producing 2 million barrels a day in 2007 from 1.7 million b/d now.

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