Kadhafi's son siphoned off oil from Total-run field: cable

10th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Seif al-Islam, the son of Libyan strongman Muamar Kadhafi, has siphoned off oil from a field run by French energy giant Total, according to a US diplomatic cable leaked to WikiLeaks and published in Norway Thursday.

In a cable dated June 4, 2009, the US embassy in Tripoli informs Washington about a deal between Libya's state-held oil company NOC and a consortium created by Total and German Wintershall that would provide the former a larger stake in two fields: Mabruk and al-Jurf.

"An interesting potential corollary is that al-Jurf is reportedly the field from which Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, a son of Muammar al-Qadhafi (sic), periodically obtains oil lifts, which he sells to finance his various activities," reads the cable, posted online by Norway's daily of reference Aftenposten.

It remained unclear if Seif al-Islam had been siphoning off oil from the prior NOC share or from the Total share before it was reduced, the cable said, but pointed out that "Seif has strong ties to senior French business and government figures."

If his oil came from the Total share, "there could be a reduction in the number of lifts he is consigned and a corresponding decrease in his bank account's bottom line."

Kadhafi's son was at the time considered a reformist but now stands behind his father in the clashes increasingly resembling a civil war.

According to Total's website, oil production on the al-Jurf field stood at 31,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) in 2009.

Aftenposten claimed late last year it had obtained all of the more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables leaked to WikiLeaks.

© 2011 AFP

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