Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

American Oil Companies Missing Out

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

American Oil Companies Missing Out

Article excerpt

American Oil Companies Missing Out

THE DISCOVERY OF OIL in 1959 transformed Libya from a poor nation just gaining its independence to a far more prosperous country, which in 1991 ranked 12th among petroleum producers worldwide. A vital part of Libya's economy, oil constitutes 75 to 90 percent of state revenues. According to official sources, Libya earned $11.7 billion from oil exports in 2000, which is more than double its 1998 earnings.

The petro-chemical industry, which depends on the oil sector for raw materials, has experienced rapid growth, with large-scale industrial complexes situated at Ras Lanuf and Bu Kammash. The country's main oil fields are linked by pipeline to terminals on the coast. At the beginning of 1999, Libya's OPEC production quota was 1.227 million barrels per day (bpd), less than half of its peak production output of 3.3 million bpd in 1970. Libya's oil is of the highest grade, a low sulphur, sweet crude oil.

With the lifting of U.N. sanctions, increased investment, and several new oil discoveries has come renewed international interest in Libya's oil fields. …

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