BP says will return to Libya 'when conditions allow'

22nd August 2011, Comments 0 comments

British energy giant BP said Monday that it would seek to return to Libya to continue its exploration programme "when conditions allow" as dictator Moamer Kadhafi faces imminent defeat.

"We intend to resume our activities and return to the country when conditions allow," a BP spokesman told AFP.

The London-listed oil giant had already evacuated its expatriate staff in February when a popular revolt broke out against the regime of strongman Kadhafi.

BP's Libyan operations are still in the early stages of development so the company did not have much infrastructure there.

The spokesman added that BP had been about to start drilling in the desert in the Ghadames basin, while it was keeping in contact with its 100 local staff who remain in Libya.

A 2007 accord with Tripoli had allowed BP to drill in the Mediterranean's Gulf of Sirte at depths of around 1,700 metres (5,500 feet) and at the onshore site near Ghadames.

The deal has faced criticism in the United States, with suspicions that BP lobbied for the release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, to push through the agreement.

Libyan Megrahi is the only person ever convicted of blowing up a US airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988, killing 270 people, mostly Americans.

Megrahi, who has terminal cancer, was said to be only three months from death when he was freed from a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds on August 20, 2009.

Two years later he is still alive , appearing at a meeting in support of Kadhafi last month.

© 2011 AFP

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